Nationals Inquired on Starling Marte, Were Turned Down

The Washington Nationals have been looking for a center fielder for a while now. Jim Bowden tweeted that during that search they inquired on Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Starling Marte. Bowden says the Nationals were told that Marte is unavailable.

The two teams really don’t match up. They both have the same focus right now of wanting to build through their farm system. The only way a trade would work out is a prospect-for-prospect swap, or the Pirates taking on a major league player. The latter seems unlikely, since it wouldn’t make sense for the Nationals to trade a major league player to try to fill their center field hole. It also doesn’t make sense for the Pirates to deal an outfielder when they’ve got long-term question marks at two of their three outfield positions.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Hank Stull

     We will take Rendon and a Pitcher

    • dropkickmurphys

      Won’t happen.  First Rendon can’t be traded yet. Second, they really like Rendon.  Third, Rendon gives them options other than Marte.  He can move to second with either Espinosa, Desmond or Lombardozzi moving to center.  That third option gives them the leadoff hitter they want (Rendon or Lombardozzi) and another good hitter in the lineup.

      This discussed trade is exactly what I’ve written here, many months ago.  Marte is almost a perfect fit for the Nationals (not really the leadoff hitter they need).  But, as I wrote before, the Pirates and Nationals don’t match up in terms of what they can offer the Pirates. 

  • leadoff

    He should be untouchable and if the Pirates have long term question marks at the corner outfield spots, everyone in baseball is in trouble.
    Marte, Presley, Tabata, Bell are not likely to be power hitting outfielders, but good productive outfielders they more than likely will be for a long time.
    Most of baseball would love to have the Pirates outfield problems going into the future.

    • brendan

      Bell certainly projects to hit for plenty of power. It remains to be seen what Marte’s ceiling is in terms of power but I could see him hitting 20 homeruns at some point if all goes well.

    • leadoff

      Oops forgot Grossman

  • leadoff

    Marte reminds me so much of Clemente when Clemente came up, talent wise very much alike. I am not saying for one minute that he will be a Clemente, just that he reminds me of Clemente. Too me trading him for another prospect just does not make much sense. The Nats inquiry shows that Marte is no secret with other major league teams just with the people that put rankings together. Cole ranked over Marte in any pole is a joke to me, in fact anyone in the Pirate farm system ranked over him is a joke to me.

    • Hank Stull

      It really says alot about Marte, The Nats are looking for a Starting CF right now and they looked at Marte to help fill that void.  Looks like they see him MLB ready now.  If Marte pushes the issue in AAA it would look like Presley would be the odd man out due to the contract of tabata

      • dropkickmurphys

        If the Nationals did want him to play center field, they wanted him to play there now.

  • kirkv

    I understand the Pirates being protective of Marte, but the door shouldn’t be closed. He’s not a Cole/Taillon level prospect and while we have question marks in the outfield, those question marks are smaller than the ones we have elsewhere. If the Pirates get inquiries on Marte, the least they can do is listen to who they might get in return. If it were a strong SS or 1B or C prospect (or young major leaguer with only a year or two of service) then we could potentially balance out our areas of strength and weakness somewhat. There’s plenty of reason to want to keep Marte, but there’s also plenty of reason to want to acquire a SS or C.

    • leadoff

       IMO Marte is above the Cole/Taillon prospects, right now they are not worth anything on the trade market.

    • BarryJT

      My opinion has always been that because of the destructive nature of the position, that catcher is a position you just strive for competency and nothing else.  If you have a guy who can hit there, you had better be prepared to move him to another position.

      A starting centerfielder for a starting catcher seems an unfair trade.

      That said, the Pirates have Sanchez, and we really need to see if he pounces back before adding another catcher.

  • James Vargo

    Damn, Rendon would be tempting. Can you even trade a first-year draft pick?

    • Lee Young

       I think they have to play one full year in the org….Tim?

      • j1066

        can not be traded for one year after signing (August 15) but can be included as a ptbnl after 6 months, so right now he can be traded.

  • ElGaupo77

    I’ve read that Rendon actually has played some SS in spring training.  This guy is going to be Pedroia and Cole is going to be Kris Benson.   Plan on it.

    • Ross

      you are funny cause PEDROIA DOESNT PLAY SHORTSTOP!!! get your positions right before you make comments

      • white angus

        Pedroia has over 100 games experience as a SS in the minor leagues, and played it plenty in college and high school. 

        no need to get bent out of shape over a prediction thats just a prediction.

      • ElGaupo77

        I realize that.  

        I was saying that Rendon’s defense is so good he’s getting time at SS.  

        Pedroia is a very good defensive 2B with high OBP.  Sorry I wasn’t more clear.

        • Lee Young

           I think we’re gonna rue the day we didn’t take Rendon. Altho, I can understand why we passed on him.
          Just our luck…..

    • dropkickmurphys

      From what I’ve heard from Nationals players is that Rendon can hit like nobody’s business.  He has no arm though.  There is no chance that he can play short.

  • John Lease

    Jim Bowden should be tweeting about how he skimmed bonus money from players in the Dominican.

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