Starling Marte Trade Rumors: Pirates Seek Top Catching Prospect in Return for OF

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2019

Pittsburgh Pirates' Starling Marte rounds third after hitting a three-run home run off New York Mets relief pitcher Tyler Bashlor, right, during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. The Pirates won 8-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte could be available for trade, with the team seeking a top catching prospect in return, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. 

The 31-year-old outfielder is under club control for two more seasons. His contract includes an $11.5 million salary for 2020 and a $12.5 million team option for 2021.

Although Pittsburgh (69-83) finished in last place in the National League Central in 2019, Marte enjoyed another strong season offensively. He hit .295/.342/.503 while establishing new career highs in both home runs (23) and RBI (82). He also stole 25 bases in 31 attempts.

A two-time Gold Glove winner, it was not the best of seasons for Marte in center field. The eight-year veteran recorded a negative-nine in terms of defensive runs saved in 2019, which was tied for the fourth-worst mark among all center fielders, according to FanGraphs.

Of note, Marte was limited to 132 games as he dealt landed on the injured list on multiple occasions. He missed nine games in April with an abdominal wall contusion and a bruised right quad, and he did not play following Sept. 10 because of a wrist injury.

As Marte has found himself in the rumor mill, he has let it be known that he is open to being traded to a contender as the Pirates continue to rebuild.

"[The Pirates] have the power to decide about my future," Marte told Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101 (h/t Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors) last week. "If it was for me, I will leave for a team that is ready to compete right now on a World Series, and that's not our case."

Pittsburgh has some young talent in its farm system, with the outfield an area of strength. However, none of their top 30 prospects play catcher, according to MLB.com.

Jacob Stallings, 29, is the only catcher on the team's current 40-man roster.