Updates from Thursday, March 27
The Pittsburgh Pirates officially announced Starling Marte's contract extension:
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had more on Marte's contract:
The Pittsburgh Pirates have reached an agreement with outfielder Starling Marte on a six-year contract extension to keep the budding star with the organization for the long term.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the new deal will take effect once Marte passes a physical and is expected to include an option year:
Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio provided further details about the contract:
Marte was a key driving force behind Pittsburgh's charge into the playoffs last season. In his first full big league campaign he hit .280 with a .343 on-base percentage to go along with 12 home runs, 41 stolen bases and 83 runs scored.
At 25, his combination of power potential and elite speed made him a perfect candidate to lock into a new contract before arbitration became a potentially major issue.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review passed along comments from Pirates general manager Neal Huntington over the weekend, when the Marte talk started to heat up, about the positive and negatives when it comes to these type of extensions:
The (advantage) is the same as any multiyear extension. You've got a chance to set your costs, and it can help you build around that player who you think is going to be an integral part of your future. Because of the enormous risk that you're taking, you're looking to save a few dollars, either on the front side in the arbitration years or on the backside in free agent years.
The player's risk is he outperforms the contract. If he does that, he's got a huge free-agent contract staring him in the face. The (possible) downside if he turns it down is he never gets another offer, so he never gets that money back.
Heyman believes it's a good deal for Pittsburgh:
The good news for the Pirates in this scenario goes back to the old phrase “speed doesn't slump.” Marte is able to get on base at a good clip and can wreak havoc on the bases. It's limits the downside to the deal as compared to a pure power hitter.
Whether Marte will ever develop into a 20-homer hitter is unknown, but he should at least provide around 15 to go along with the high stolen base totals and solid defense. That's very good value for a shade over $5 million per season.
When paired with reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates have a lot to like about the future of their outfield.