Starling Marte's Reason for Desiring a Trade is the Reason he Should Be
It was reported yesterday that Starling Marte would prefer to leave the Pittsburgh Pirates for a team that is in contention right now. At age 31, few could blame a player like Marte for wanting to compete for a championship rather than stick around for a rebuild that may not come to fruition during his best years. This should be one of those instances where Marte's preference and the team's plan align perfectly - resulting in the star center fielder being moved for a crop of players who could be a part of the Pirates' rebuild.
Marte's desire to move to a contender was reported by Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101. Gomez broke the news via Twitter.
Marte is correct in that the Pirates are not going to be in the hunt this year, and likely not the following one. So, this is not one of those disgruntled players that Pittsburgh has become too familiar with over the last two years. This is a man who recognizes that he has a limited amount of time to win a World Series, and he wants an opportunity to chase that. Who wouldn't? It would be great if he could do that in Pittsburgh, but, as the team is currently constructed, that's not realistic. To further illustrate Marte's character in all of this, the above quote goes on to say, "if it [a trade] doesn't happen, I will keep working hard and giving my team all I have."
Starling Marte is coming off perhaps his best year at the plate. He hit .295 with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs in 2019. While his defense has declined since his Gold Glove days, he's still a good center fielder with speed to shrink the gaps, and guys like that don't become available too often.
The trade of Adam Eaton is the best recent comparable trade I could find, and even he doesn't compare well to Marte. Marte is a better player than Eaton in just about every way. Also, Marte is still a center fielder. At the time of Eaton getting traded, it was clear that he no longer was. The only positive Eaton has in comparison to Marte is age - he was four years younger than Marte at the time he was traded. When you factor in what the Nationals got in return for Eaton, and how much more the Pirates could get from Marte, it takes some of the sting away.
The Nationals sent Lucas Giolito, Reynoldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning to the White Sox in return for Eaton. At the time, both Giolito and Lopez were considered among the ten best pitching prospects in all of baseball, and Dunning was a promising first round pick that year.
With the Pirates desperately in need of pitching, having a precedent like that trade provides some promise as to what they may get in return for Marte. Now, I could see the age being a real factor in diminishing some of Marte's trade value, but the talent should help even that out a bit.
This will be the first big test for new general manager, Ben Cherington. How he handles Starling Marte could go a long way in hastening the rebuild that he was brought to Pittsburgh to orchestrate. I think a trade is going to happen and, while it will hurt to see Marte play for someone else, it will be nice to know that it could be something that works out well for both Starling and the team.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife