Texas Rangers Have Reportedly Contacted Pirates on Starling Marte

Chris Halicke

The Rangers have a need at center field and have contacted the Pirates about their star center fielder Starling Marte, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Marte, 31, is a two-time Gold Glove winning outfielder, who slashed .295/.342/.503 in 2019 with 23 home runs and 82 RBI's. Marte's two Gold Gloves came as a left fielder in 2015 and 2016, but moved over to center field permanently after the departure of former Pirates star Andrew McCutchen. 

One of the most attractive things about Marte is a very affordable contract. He is owed only $11.5 million in 2020 and has a $12.5 club option for 2021. 

Marte's defense has not been as strong as a center fielder. In 373 games as a center fielder, he owns a .985 fielding percentage and a -11 DRS. Compare those numbers to a .979 fielding percentage, but a 82 DRS in 592 games as a left fielder. 

Starling Marte has never been the most clean defender, but his speed and arm have saved plenty of runs for the Pirates over the years. Unfortunately, they've come more as a left fielder than a center fielder. 

If the Rangers were to bring in Marte, they would obviously feel confident enough that he could play center field adequately enough. His bat would be a huge upgrade to what the Rangers produced from center field a season ago. 

It looks like the Pirates prefer prospects for Marte. It's also been reported earlier this winter that the Pirates want to address catcher, so it would not be surprising if the Pirates would ask the Rangers for a package built around catching prospect Sam Huff. 

The Rangers could just be doing their due diligence to upgrade center field by contacting Pittsburgh on Marte. The asking price might end up being too much, especially with Texas engaged in talks with Colorado on Nolan Arenado. But if the Rangers could end up swinging a deal for Marte, they would have a very stout outfield, especially offensively.

Follow SI Rangers Maven on Twitter: @RangersMavenSI