Anthony Rizzo’s Extension is a Good Guide For Starling Marte

Anthony Rizzo's extension is a good guide for Starling Marte. Photo Credit: David Hague

Anthony Rizzo’s extension is a good guide for Starling Marte. Photo Credit: David Hague

On Saturday I wrote about how the Pittsburgh Pirates should extend Starling Marte, giving a price guide for a potential deal. Last night the Chicago Cubs extended first baseman Anthony Rizzo on a seven year, $41 M deal with two option years.

Coming into the season Rizzo had 0.168 years of service time. He had six years of control remaining, including 2013, and would have been a Super Two player after the 2014 season. That’s comparable to Marte, with the difference being Marte won’t be a Super Two player. The Rizzo extension covers all of his cost controlled years, plus one free agent year. It also gains control of two more free agent years with two $14.5 M club options. According to Ken Rosenthal, the total value of the deal could be nine years and $68 M if both options are exercised, and the package could go to $73 M if escalators are reached.

By comparison, I suggested the Pirates should extend Marte to a five year, $34 M deal. I wasn’t including the 2014 season in that extension, so you could say a six year, $34.5 M deal. The Cubs re-worked Rizzo’s 2013 salary, and if the Pirates took the same approach you’d be looking at the same seven year deal, with Marte being guaranteed north of $35 M (he’d probably get a signing bonus and a higher salary in his 2013-2014 seasons).

Rizzo got two $14.5 M options, which is what I was suggesting for Marte. That was based off Paul Goldschmidt, who also received a $14.5 M option for one of his free agent years. The total value of my Marte proposal would be nine years and $60 M, which is a few million shy of Rizzo’s total value. Marte should be slightly below Rizzo, since Rizzo has the Super Two benefit. I’d say he should get a few million more, probably in the form of a signing bonus and higher salaries in 2013 and 2014.

Rizzo’s deal is definitely a good guide, and is similar to the deal Goldschmidt signed (which I used as the guide for Marte). If the Pirates made a similar deal this year, I think it would look like 7 years, $38 M, and the two $14.5 M option years, which would buy out control of three of Marte’s free agent years. If the Pirates waited until after the 2013 season the price probably wouldn’t change much, although they’d be looking at a six year deal, since they wouldn’t be changing the 2013 salary.

The Cubs have a slight advantage in that Rizzo has 608 at-bats, while Marte has 313 at-bats. Both players look to be breaking out this year, so they’re in similar situations from a value standpoint. I felt the Pirates should extend Marte a few days ago, and nothing has changed on that front. The Rizzo deal just makes the Goldschmidt price guide look much stronger for a Marte deal.

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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.

Pirates Should Extend Starling Marte – And Here’s a Price Guide

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  • Y2JGQ2

    Agreed- Unless Marte blows out his Knee, his arm, or has fingers cut off in a freak machete accident, his tools make the value pretty slam dunk.

  • leadoff

    Although I have been following Marte for about 4 years now and am convinced that he will be a super star, I have to look at his numbers in a different form. Too me he is hitting about .250, I don’t count his bleader hits as hits, much like the Pirates don’t. .250 is very good when that would be solid hits, most hitters are not graded on solid hits, but that is the way I do it. His Hrs. are legit, he probably will hit 10-15 his first year and that will go up, so will his average, His speed is legit, his aggressiveness is legit. His defense is slightly below average right now, but that will improve quite a bit in the coming years.
    Yes, I agree with Tim, I would lock him up now, once the horse is out of the barn he might be tough to sign, his upside is off the charts.

  • AvoidLloyd95

    I like Marte but not ready to give him extension at his hottest. Wait until next season and make sure this is what we get all season.

  • esd4

    I don’t think it would be very smart to pay slugger prices for a speed/defense guy. Comps for Marte are OF like Tabata and Span, not 1b like rizzo and Goldschmidt. Tabata got 6/15, Span got 5/16 (and he plays CF). Something like 5/15 or 6/18 would be more appropriate than 7/38. I like the idea of extending Marte, but 7/38 would be Tabata-dumb.

    • Tim Williams

      Starling Marte is more than a speed/defense guy. He has 10 homers in his first 313 at-bats. Jose Tabata has 13 in 1134 at-bats. Denard Span has 23 in 2486 at-bats. Marte’s slugging percentage is almost 100 points higher than each of those guys.

      Another comparison, Andrew McCutchen had a .286/.365/.471 line with 12 homers in 433 at-bats in 2009.

      Marte has a .291/.347/.470 line with 10 homers in 313 at-bats so far.

      • esd4

        Yeah, Marte’s more than speed/defense, but he’s not a slugger like rizzo and goldschmidt. Those guys aren’t his comps. They play different positions and are different types of player. Marte should not be getting that kind of money.

        If you don’t like Tabata and Span as comps, think about the deals that Bruce, Upton, and McCutchen got. They had two extra years of service time and all got 6/51 or so. Paying 7/38 right now for Marte is way above the going rate for that type of player with so little service time.

        • Tim Williams

          The thing is, there aren’t many examples of guys who receive extensions with less than two years of service time. So you have to look beyond the specific comps (1B vs CF) and just look at the player’s impact on the roster for the long-term. That’s where Marte is comparable to Rizzo and Goldschmidt.

      • Dropkickmurphys

        I would wait until the end of this year to do it. If he continues as he is, yes lock him up.

        Marte may not hit 30-40 homers that Rizzo and Goldschmidt may but he will hit 20-25+ and contribute in many other ways that those two won’t.

        I’m not a big defense guy but even I can’t ignore what Marte does in the field. He is a second CFer, with an RFer’s arm, in a park that requires a such a player.

        Marte is much closer to Goldschmidt and Rizzo than he is Span and Tabata.

    • TNBucs

      I think Marte’s defense and speed balances Rizzo’s power (WAR thinks the same). And it’s not like Marte isn’t showing some significant power potential. Unlike Tabata, Marte could drop off offensively and still hold value due to his potential to play a plus CF.

      • esd4

        I’m not arguing that Marte is worse than rizzo. I’m arguing that he shouldn’t get paid as much because he’s a different type of player. Guys who hit 30 homers make bank in arbitration. Marte’s not that type of guy, so you don’t need to pay him that type of money.

        • Tim Williams

          “Guys who hit 30 homers make bank in arbitration. Marte’s not that type of guy”


          • esd4

            Okay. Marte may or may not hit 30 hr in some future year, but that’s irrelevant to the type of contract the Pirates should give him now.

            • Tim Williams

              I think it’s important that if he does have a shot at being that type of player, you want to lock him up as soon as possible.

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