The San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates are talking trade for outfielder Starling Marte.
As the MLB Winter Meetings come to a close in San Diego on Thursday, the San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller has been busy but hasn’t made a move yet.
It was reported Wednesday afternoon by MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman that the Padres have inquired about Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte.
Marte is under contract through 2020, with a team option for 2021. He is due $11.5 million in 2020 and would be owed $12.5 million in 2021. If the team would not like to keep Marte for 2021, there is a $2 million buyout. The contract surely fits the talent for the Padres.
Starling Marte stood out in 2019, exceeding his career totals in just about every offensive category.
The career .287/.341/.452 hitter tallied a slash line of .295/.342/.503 to go along with 23 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 2019. It is relatively easy to see why the San Diego Padres and other teams are targeting Marte. There are not a lot of outfielders who are available who can get on base consistently and pose a threat on the basepaths as he can.
His fielding, however, brings some concerns.
Marte was an outstanding left fielder but was moved to centerfield permanently following the departure Andrew McCutchen. In his six seasons in left, Marte had 82 DRS, 8 RTOT, a .979 FLD %, and 19 assists. In his eight seasons in center, he has -11 DRS, 28 RTOT, a .985 FLD %, and 12 assists. He seems to make more remarkable and run-saving plays in left, but holds his ground and makes fewer errors in centerfield.
2019 was his worst defensive year in the Majors. His -9 DRS, 8 RTOT, .984 FLD %, and eight assists were all career lows in centerfield. The San Diego Padres will likely play Marte in centerfield if acquired, because Grisham has experience in right field, and Pham and Myers are primarily left fielders. San Diego will hope to find a balance of multiple players in the outfield to start the 2020 season.
Given the depth that already exists in the outfield for the San Diego Padres, there will likely be an outfielder that is sent back to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Reports are that the Pirates covet a catcher. Austin Hedges is being rumored a possible fit for Pittsburgh. A prospect or two will be included in the potential deal to entice Pittsburgh. Starling Marte could be the final puzzle piece to the brand new look in the outfield green of Petco Park. He will not come cheap, though. The Padres have the talent to pay the asking price from the Pirates. Will they do it?