He has looked likely to be traded all offseason, and Starling Marte finally has a new team. How does he fit into the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup?
Starling Marte has been the subject of trade rumors for nearly the entire offseason. Those rumors have intensified recently, and then on Monday afternoon the Arizona Diamondbacks made a deal to get the two-time Gold Glove outfielder from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Robert Murray first reported infielder Liover Peguero as one of the prospects headed to Pittsburgh, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone. Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic added how Baseball America had Peguero as the No.7 prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system and Malone was No. 9.
Marte set career-highs for home runs (23), RBI (82) and runs scored (97) last year, along with .295/.342/.503 slash-line. He’s going to make $11.5 million this year, with a $12.5 club option ($1 million buyout) for 2021. Those relatively cheap salaries and two years of control made him an easy trade chip for the Pirates, and Marte openly said he wanted to play for a contender.
Marte earned back-to-back Gold Gloves primarily playing left field for the Pirates in 2015 and 2016. He transitioned entirely to center field the last two seasons, but his defensive prowess did not go with him as he registered bad marks in Defensive Runs Saved (-9) and UZR (-7.6) last year.
But even with those negatives defensively, Arizona appears set to put Marte in center field.
A retooled Diamondbacks’ everyday lineup, with 2019 breakout star Ketel Marte settling in at second base, might look like this.
- Ketel Marte, 2B
- Starling Marte, CF
- Eduardo Escobar, 3B
- David Peralta, LF
- Christian Walker, 1B
- Kole Calhoun, RF
- Carson Kelly, C
- Nick Ahmed, SS
After another injury-shortened season last year, Jake Lamb should be in the mix for time at both corner infield spots.
Arizona seems to be trying to contend, while also trading off notable pieces when the opportunities come. They had moved into the periphery of whatever Mookie Betts sweepstakes there might be, but Marte was always a more realistic trade target.
If the Diamondbacks don’t look like contenders in July, Marte will easily be the subject of more trade rumors due to his contract situation essentially making him a rental.