According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates approached left fielder Starling Marte with a contract extension twice during the Winter and each time he turned them down. That doesn’t mean that Marte won’t sign an extension though, Biertempfel points out that he is still open to the idea of signing long-term.
Marte doesn’t hit free agency until 2019 and he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season, so there is no rush to get the deal done. The Pirates are probably looking for a team friendly deal in exchange for financial security for Marte, which might not be a bad idea on his part with all of the times he gets hit by pitches. Marte was second in the league with 24 HBP last season and he missed time during Winter ball after being hit.
It should also be pointed out that Marte was signed for an $85,000 bonus in 2007, so he really didn’t start to make any money until he reached the majors in 2012. That might also factor in his decision to sign a long-term deal sooner, rather than later.
The Pirates also wouldn’t mind locking up 2/3 of their future outfield, with Andrew McCutchen already signed for the near future and Gregory Polanco on his way to Pittsburgh this Summer. Many believe they will quickly become the best outfield in baseball. It should be pointed out that McCutchen didn’t sign his contract until after his second full season in the majors, one year more than Marte has now.
These deals that appear to be team-friendly don’t always work out as planned. Jose Tabata signed what appeared to be a team-friendly deal in 2011, but he hasn’t progressed as they hoped, which now makes him a difficult player to trade.