New D-backs outfielder Starling Marte: By the numbers
Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen was sitting on a hefty sum of spending money with a need left to fill this offseason, and the wait on that acquisition ended on Monday.
The D-backs traded for Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte, sending prospects Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone in return, the team announced.
98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro was the first to report Arizona was closing in on a deal for the outfielder.
Here’s a better look at what Arizona is getting in Marte, by the numbers:
Perhaps the most important question of a trade in baseball that is prospects for an established player is how many years of control that player has left.
Marte has two, making $11.5 million this upcoming season and has a club option in 2021 for $12.5 million. Barring an unforeseen dropoff for Marte, that’s surely a year the D-backs will take on.
Marte becomes the D-backs’ highest-paid position player on the active roster, topping infielder Eduardo Escobar’s salary mark of $7.16 million by $4.3 million.
While Escobar and Ketel Marte are expected to be the stars of the batting order, it speaks to a certain level of expectations that Starling Marte will have as a high-level acquisition.
2019 was a career year for Marte. He had career-bests in seven different statistical categories: runs (97), homers (23), RBIs (82), batting average (.295), slugging percentage (.503), OPS (.845) and total bases (271).
That’s quite the feat for Marte considering he’s been a solid bat for his eight-year career, hitting .287 with a .793 OPS.
A huge plus of Marte’s game is that despite him getting older at the age of 31, he still stole 25 bases last season and has managed at least 20 in each of his last seven seasons.
For a reference point of how rare it is for the D-backs to have had a decent hitter who is a threat to run, only four times in the last eight seasons has Arizona had a player steal for more than 20 bases with an OPS above .750: Jean Segura (2016: 33 steals, .867 OPS), Paul Goldschmidt (’15: 21 steals, 1.005 OPS. ’16: 32 steals, .899 OPS) and A.J. Pollock (’16: 39 steals, .865 OPS).
Marte has achieved that feat in six of his last seven seasons.
Marte is a balanced player who can both hit and defend, which is why he makes so much sense for Hazen given him and manager Torey Lovullo highly valuing defense in their players.
But Marte’s last Gold Glove win was four years ago in 2016, his second in left field after getting another in the same spot the season prior.
Marte has almost exclusively spent his last two seasons in center, which funnily enough, is probably where he’s less suited to play with age after his defensive prime was spent in the corner. After posting defensive runs saved numbers of 24 and 17 those two Gold Glove years, Marte’s number was all the way down to -9 this past season.
That’s something to keep in mind for Marte, monitoring if the decision-makers of the D-backs’ lineup will vary his time in left or right field and use Ketel Marte in center if they either want Starling out of defending center or another middle infielder to play in Ketel’s spot.
In April of 2017, Marte was suspended 80 games for using Nandrolone, a performance-enhancing drug. The outfielder is one of the highest-profile names to have been given a suspension since the league tightened up their policies.