Pirates and Starling Marte Agree to Six-Year Deal

According to Ken Rosenthal, the Pittsburgh Pirates and left fielder Starling Marte are close on signing a six-year deal.  We heard a few days ago that the Pirates had made two offers to Marte over the Winter and he rejected both of them, but he was still open to negotiate. It sounds like the two sides have resumed talks and a deal may happen soon.

Update 10:22am: Well, that was quick. According to Jon Heyman, the deal is done pending physical. The deal includes at least one option year.

Update 10:27am: Jim Duquette is reporting that deal is for $31,000,000

Update 10:40am: Multiple sources are now saying it’s a six-year deal with two club options. The deal starts in 2014, so this buys out three years of Marte’s free agent years.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • Josh

    It’s hard to judge a contract without knowing the terms, but the $ would have to be extremely high for me to view this as anything other than a fantastic move

    • Josh

      @Ken_Rosenthal: Marte deal with #Pirates likely would cover one pre-arb year, three arb years, two FA years. Will be for $31M, per @Jim_Duquette.

      Well, there we go. Great move.

      • stickyweb

        If that figure is right, it’s a great deal for the Bucs. Figure what he would get for those years going year-to-year: 500K, 3M, 5M, 8M, 12M and 15M. Now those are all on the low side except for the 500K, and he gives up $$ for the security of guaranteed money, but those add up to $43.5 million, so big savings for the team.
        I expected it to be more like Cutch’s $51.5 mil, but I guess they’re buying out one less FA year with Marte, so $20 mil less is reasonable. I wonder what Marte turned down before, more years bought out, less money or both? Will we ever find out?

        • jaygray007

          yep. cutch was also an additional year into his service (and therefore basically had one less dirt cheap year included in the deal). overall, it’s a similar deal, but just came one year earlier.

        • John Dreker

          I’m not sure if we will find out, but the offers were in the Winter, so here is something to think about. In Winter ball, which Marte joined late, he got hit by a pitch and missed games, got hit again and left a game, then missed time with a back injury and was shutdown. It could be that he reconsidered the original deal after realizing that he might just want that security, because what he is guaranteed to make without it, pales in comparison

          • stickyweb

            Excellent points John. We all know his risks from his style of play and high HBP, but I forgot what his winter was like. And maybe he started seeing the risks as much as we do.

        • emjayinTN

          An excellent deal for both the Pirates and Starling Marte

          Go Bucs!

  • BritBuc

    Looks like an absolute bargain to me. Marte only needs to average what, just over 1 WAR a season over that stretch to outplay the contract? Value.

  • japple2298

    Great News !!

  • joshuabobby

    Anyone else find it funny that he has to pass a physical after he’s been in camp the last 40 days? Or is that just me?

  • jaygray007

    woot woot!
    While he’s making less than he could by going year-to-year with arbitration, he now KNOWS that he is set for life and doesn’t have to worry about blowing out his knee. Good for him, and good for the Pirates.

    • jaygray007

      i read yesterday that players from poor countries are more likely to be risk averse and avoid arbitration. Throw in the fact that he got a relatively small signing bonus, and I start to feel even better for Marte. Assuming his family is poor, this is fantastic for him.

      • lonleylibertarian

        I really think it is close to racist to assume that Latin players are somehow willing to settle for less. They can afford really good advisors and I am sure Marte and his reps did what they think is in HIS best interests. These deals are becoming more common – and some work out really well – Cutch – some OK – Tabata – some awful like Woodley for the Steelers or Sabathia and ARod for the Yanks

        • sss45

          If you as an individual come from a poorer family you have tremendous incentive to be more risk averse and sign this type of deal. Think about it for 5 seconds. Coming from the DR Marte most likely doesn’t come from an affluent family.

          It has nothing to do with racism or what type of advisors he has. The best advisors would say to him “sign the contract! You’ll be set for life!”

          • szielinski

            Pitt’s Steve Adams left school early to earn money for his family, which was not well-to-do

        • jaygray007

          I’m not assuming. I was citing an analysis done by – i think – fangraphs. I agree that it would be racist if i WAS just assuming. but i was not assuming. that’s a real trend.

          • jaygray007

            and i don’t think that assuming that the Marte family itself isn’t too well off is racist either.

        • jaygray007

          and i’d imagine that the good advisors don’t really get paid until the player gets a signing bonus.
          The great advisors find the great players. I don’t think it’s the other way around.
          and yeah i’m not saying he was accepting less. i’m saying he’s minimizing risk. he now has a 100% chance of making this money. Arbitration gives less risk to the team and more to the player. Early contracts give risk to the team and less money to the player. they’re equally viable strategies. the data just has shown that players from poor areas tend to take the early contracts more often than players from healthier economic areas.

  • bucsws2014

    Good for Marte. Hope he gets hit in the hands less often.

    I’m somewhat disturbed that Kevin Frandsen landed with the Nats. I like this guy a lot. He would’ve been a great sub for Walker/Pedro. His BABIP fell off the cliff last year, but I think he’s a better option than Josh Harrison at this point. Josh has his moments, but IMO, Frandsen is the better option vs. LHP and has shown he can play somewhat more regularly than Josh without a huge dropoff. Josh has looked great in ST, but Frandsen also seems to be the better fielder as well as PH.

    • jaygray007

      won’t need frandsen when the Pirates trade for Gregorious and Mercer can play vs lefties for Walker/Pedro :)

    • Ron Loreski

      I’ll never understand why people like Josh Harrison. He has no power, bad baserunner, and he’s an average defender at best. There are plenty better utility guys out there the PIrates could get.

      • Y2JGQ2

        Harrison is a good hitter, he knows he isn’t a power hitter. He is also very gritty, plays hard, works hard, very pittsburgh kinda guy. Baserunning can be improved with practice, as can defense and at least at 3rd, he isn’t a below average fielder, and I’d say average at 2nd. He’s versatile. Thats why. He has value as a role player, and he knows his role and doesn’t try to be anything else. He’s a 24th or 25th man. He fills that role well.

        • Ron Loreski

          You can’t practice running to 3rd on a grounder to SS. Or getting picked off at 2B. That’s lack of concentration. I do agree with you though, he fills the roll of a UTL player, but the Pirates need someone better to fill that role IMO.

  • stickyweb

    6 years plus 2 club option years? If it starts after this season, that controls him through his age 33 season. Huge!!!!

  • stickyweb

    Now trade for Ike Davis and they can officially be called the BMTIB once again :-)

    • lonleylibertarian

      If they trade for Davis I will sell all of my season tickets on Stub Hub – he is AWFUL and no real improvement

      • Kevin_Young

        DIBS!!!

      • stickyweb

        Davis worst year 2013 his OPS vs. RHP was .727, just like GI Jones 2013. So assume that’s his floor. But you get Ike 5 years younger, $3 mil cheaper and with one additional arb year (I think), and he’s got way more potential than anyone else they have, including Lambo if everything goes right for both of them. It never hurts to add depth, as long as the price is right. If the Mets keep their demands ridiculous, then no go.

        • emjayinTN

          The Mets still have ALL of their 1B still in camp – Satin, Davis, Duda and I am glad you added that last sentence about ridiculous demands. NH is in the catbird seat and he knows it. No reason to jump at anything – the Mets overplayed their hand!

          • John Dreker

            Davis was also injured for over two weeks. He just returned to action five days ago, so it’s doubtful anyone would have dealt for him in the last three weeks. You at least want to see him play a few games before pulling the trigger on a deal. I wouldn’t rule out a move being made

            • http://@gwbicster gwbicster

              The Mariners are also desperate for pitching and a real outfielder. Something is going to happen with one of these teams, and if it does, you have to pat Neal on the back for being patient and eventually getting his man.

        • Y2JGQ2

          Except that you also have to trade a player with value in addition to paying him……

          • stickyweb

            If it’s the extra bullpen arm they’re going to lose anyway and a lesser prospect, you’re not trading much value. But I get your point.

      • jaygray007

        you’d really rather have Ishikawa than Davis? You’re more brave than I am haha.
        Or has your Davis hate over the past few days been sarcastic?…. I can’t tell now that i put it as Ishikawa vs Davis….
        but then you wouldn’t admit if you were trolling. because a troll wouldn’t admit that he was trolling.
        now i’m confused.
        what is real?
        do I exist?

      • wkkortas

        So Ike Davis, with his career .827 OPS against righties is all-caps awful, yet in these pages you have suggested putting Travis Snider with his .716 OPS–and zero experience at the position–at first base. As Oscar Wilde once said, if you don’t want to be ridiculed, don’t make yourself ridiculous.

      • csnumber23

        I don’t understand your hate for Davis, he hits RHP well and is still only 26. I would take him in a second over what we have. I think he would do well facing only RHP at PNC.

        • lonleylibertarian

          It ain’t just me…

          “You know it’s bad when Lucas Duda is suddenly the future at the position. Two years with a batting average under .230 from their incumbent first baseman will do that”

          ZIPS – 1.4 WAR – .232 BA 25%+ K rate – Pedroesque

          • Andrew

            Yes but when the Pirates are projected to have 0.8 WAR performance from their current first basemen, 28th in MLB, Davis is a significant upgrade, and more so because his PAs against LHP would be limited. Numbers in isolation mean little. An argument can be made that the cost of Davis would out-weight the upgrade, but the idea that Ike Davis is awful is a false premise.

            • wkkortas

              Exactly–we’re not comparing Davis to Duda; we’re comparing him to the Pirates’ current options, which are borderline frightening.

          • jaygray007

            Why does the K rate matter? 1.4 WAR is 1.4 WAR whether he has 200 K or 0 K.
            ZIPS has Ishikawa at negative WAR.
            nobody is suggesting Ike Davis as the savior or even that they give up a ton to get him. Just that he’d be an upgrade to a team that’s right on the playoff bubble.

          • jaygray007

            i do agree that it’s weird that they seem to prefer Duda over Davis. Maybe it’s cuz Duda is cheaper and they’re not quite a contender yet? 75 win team according to PECOTA. But then again, why go get Granderson. weird.
            It’s not like projections like Duda. they like Davis more.

      • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

        Claimed ;-)

  • lonleylibertarian

    So now go offer something similar to Polanco so he can be the RF opening day

    • stickyweb

      Let’s wait until he has 10 ABs in MLB before pulling the trigger. Or 10 ABs in AAA at the very least.

    • Y2JGQ2

      Why would we throw millions of dollars away? That would be utterly pointless.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mark.busch.98 Mark

        I disagree, I think you missed his point. If we extended Polanco now, we could effectively gain a half year of control by negotiating the contract in a manner than treats the next four seasons as his pre-arb years. Because if Polanco doesn’t sign the extension, you can tell him politely “OK, see you in July.”

        Look at Evan Longoria’s first big contract with the Rays. These can deals absolutely make sense for small-market teams.

        • stickyweb

          I understand he was trying to gain a couple extra months of Polanco. My point was that it’s not worth doing at this point. Using your comp, Longoria tore up virtually every minor league stop he made and had 130 AAA ABs (with nearly .900 OPS) when signed. Polanco has torn up exactly one stop (A ball) was pretty good at high A and average at his other stops. Plus he has 9 AAA ABs.
          Yes Polanco has the speed and defense that can cover him for awhile, but there’s an outside chance he can’t handle MLB pitching.

          • Pghfan987

            Polanco not having torn up AAA ball would decrease his price, though. I can see that as a positive or a negative, depending on how much you believe in him.

            I’ve been told the Dominican Winter League is similar competition to AAA ball, and Polanco was the best player there. That has to count for something.

            TBH I think there’s virtually no chance that Polanco can’t handle MLB pitching. His peripherals last year were too outstanding. That’s why I think he’s ready now; I realize his OPS slash lines last season weren’t overly impressive.

  • csnumber23

    This is absolutely outstanding!!! This is going to go down as a HUGE bargain for the Pirates! Starling is my current favorite player and I love seeing him locked up thru his prime. I love the way the kid plays and I know he is still going to get a LOT better!!

    Now if we can just fill that one weak spot at 1B that would be great!

  • wkkortas

    I join the chorus praising this as an absolute A+ for the Bucs. This deal and the A-Cutch deal are both prime examples of how the Pirates have to do business to succeed.

  • https://www.facebook.com/steve.peipock Bonds Top Hand

    Does this now change the development path of Bell or Meadows? If their hit tool develops as fast as some seem to believe. We won’t have any room for them in the outfield. Unless, of course, they trade Cutch before his current deal is up for an absolute haul. And why does Boras have to be such a money monster? Pedro could’ve been extended by now as well…

    • csnumber23

      I think Bell is going to move to 1B at some point. Meadows could be Cutch’s replacement or could even move to 1B at some point. Not sure but it is a nice problem to have so much young talent.

      • Jeff Rhodes

        Agreed. If Bell’s hitting continues to develop, he’ll be moved to first base — perhaps as soon as next season. As for Meadows, he’s at least two years away from the Majors, which puts him in Pittsburgh by 2016 at the earliest. If I remember correctly, Cutch is signed through 2017 and it’s a given that the Pirates will never be able to offer him the monster deal he’ll command by then. Whether the team decides to trade him for prospects a year early or wait until he declares free agency and collect a draft choice for him, Meadows should be just about ready to step in — unless we get antsy before then and trade him away, which would be stupid.

    • Y2JGQ2

      Because Boras is more interested in his own well being than his player’s. Money hungry players stay with Boras because that’s his niche. Players who are more concerned with safety long term stability etc, don’t go to boras

      • Y2JGQ2

        So you really can’t blame Boras, blame the players. They know what they are doing

        • https://www.facebook.com/steve.peipock Bonds Top Hand

          He (Boras) is good at what he does without question. Just makes it hard to enjoy your team’s players he represents knowing they will be gone in only a matter of time. Just not sure what an .250 avg, 30-35 hr’s, and 100 rbi’s gets you on the open market? 18 million, 20 million, or more by then including inflation?

        • Andrew

          Boras is what he is, I do not think there is anything wrong with players maximizing their value, especially when the percentage of revenue going to players has been declining.

  • Leefoo Rug Bug

    Time for a Marte Parte?

  • leadoff

    This is what I would do if I were the Pirates. I would trade for Gregorius, put him at SS, move Mercer to 2nd and move Walker to 1st base or keep Walker at 2nd and move Mercer to 1st base. Keep Barmes as middle infield depth and Sanchez as 1st and 3rd base depth, move Harrison and one bullpen pitcher.

    • sss45

      Mercer to first?

  • leadoff

    Glad to see that they got Marte locked up, I don’t believe in team friendly or player friendly contracts. The Pirates base their contracts and stats, progressions and regressions. All the people calling the McCutchen contract a steal ought to study the facts first, he got a good contract and the Pirates made a good deal, both.

  • Jeff Rhodes

    Gotta love this. Most of us have been salivating for two years over the prospect of a Marte-Cutch-Polanco outfield; this just confirms the front office is as excited about it as we are and wants to keep the unit together for at least two and a half years and maybe a year longer.

    Talent-wise, I actually think Marte has an overall better skill set than Cutch. He’s probably faster, plays better outfield angles and has a stronger arm. I also think he projects to have more power. If he could just learn to be a little more selective at the plate — I know, most players never do — he’d be every bit the superstar Cutch is. And the scary thing is, Polanco already has an advanced approach at the plate, plays excellent defense and the potential for even more power.

    Think of what a luxury it’s going to be for the next few years to know you have bar none the best outfield in baseball and a starting rotation full of potential aces. When you start from that position, swinging one deal a year for a new corner infielder doesn’t sound like a very long to-do list.

  • stickyweb

    The extension could have started next year and his $500K contract he signed over the winter would have stayed in place for this season. But it doesn’t seem like that’s the case according to the recent reporting

  • Daryl Restly

    Any chance the Pirates eventually move Josh Bell from the outfield to 3B and make a corresponding move with Alvarez moving across the diamond to 1B. I would think Bell’s athleticism would play better at 3B than 1B. To me, it would simply be a matter of whether Bell could pick up the nuances of playing 3B.

    • Ron Loreski

      If they didn’t just move Mathisen to 3B I would agree with that. If both of their bats develop as planned, it doesn’t make much sense to have them play the same position.

  • https://profiles.google.com/117072260031604417798 PikeBishop65

    And to think if some had gotten their wish, Marte would be in Arizona, when we traded him at the deadline in 2011 for Justin Upton in order to take a 72 win team to the playoffs.
    Boy, playing quaterback at sunrise the day AFTER Sunday sure is fun. :-)

  • Thom

    Woohoo!

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD

    Setting aside the money aspect – as I don’t think we know the terms yet…..and assuming it was in line with other similar extensions for younger players who are potentially stars…..this is tremendous news! To be able to extend McCutchen a couple of years ago and now Marte is huge. Now, can we do the same with guys like Cole, Justin Wilson, and Tony Watson?

  • Mike C.

    now sign up Polanco long term longoria style.
    I don’t care he’s unproven and haven’t played a game of mlb ball. Do it. Longoria. nuff said.

    • stickyweb

      Longoria was on a different planet than Polanco is, plus had more than double the ABs in the high minors. I love Polanco, but I’d also love to see him produce more and more consistently.

  • NorCalBuc

    B R A V O !

  • joshuabobby

    I knew there would be a perfectly logical, non-funny reason :)

    Thanks!