Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Starling Marte on the Trade Block?

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a very slow offseason like most of baseball. However, yesterday a very interesting rumor came out.

While the last few days in Pittsburgh have been very cold, the hot stove for the Pittsburgh Pirates finally saw some heat yesterday.  However, whatever heat the stove was getting was quickly turned off by another report.  That is the fun thing about baseball rumors, there are usually a lot of them and it’s hard to tell what is true and what is not.

Yesterday, there was a report of potential trade talks that would cause a very big change to the 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates.  Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles reported about trade talks that have supposedly occurred between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  According to Duarte, the two teams have discussed Pittsburgh Pirates star center fielder Starling Marte.  Here is what Duarte tweeted yesterday and a couple thoughts on them:

"“Sources: #Dodgers having ‘active and ongoing discussions’ with #Pirates for Starling Marte. They’ve discussed a deal in previous weeks as well. Not known what other players are involved, or if teams are close to a deal. Marte is under contract with Pittsburgh through 2021.”"

First off, trading Starling Marte makes sense, but at the same time does not make sense.  It obviously does not make sense because he is one of, if not the, team’s best players.  He is controlled cheaply over the next two years at $24 million total, something very affordable for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  On top of that, the team is coming off a winning season and adding at the deadline with the idea of competing in 2019.

However, this could also be why the team would look to trade Marte.  As Pittsburgh Pirates fans saw last year, the team is not afraid to trade players with multiple years before free agency as they did with Gerrit Cole. Marte is the type of player that could bring back multiple top prospects who likely would be close to MLB ready.  It would go along with the lines of trying to get something for a player before they leave via free agency to sustain being competitive.

With all that being said, this is not the first tweet that Duarte has had connected the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Dodgers.  Just last week, he said that the Pittsburgh Pirates have checked in on outfield prospect Alex Verdugo. Earlier this offseason, he noted that the Dodgers were also checking in on Francisco Cervelli.

Of the three rumors he has reported, only one has been confirmed by other insiders and that is the Cervelli talk.  Jon Heyman, one of the game’s best reporters and insiders, put down these rumors in his own tweet:

"“There are no legs to the Pirates rumors today. They are not trading Starling Marte to the Dodgers…”"

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Now, Duarte very well could have a different source that is passing along information that others are not getting and Heyman has been wrong in the past, although he is usually very reliable at the same time.  It is really hard to say, other than it is something to keep an eye on.   If I were to guess, this is probably nothing and Marte should, and most likely will, be the Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder at the start of 2019.