Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Potential Trades for Starling Marte

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It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to trade star centerfielder Starling Marte. With multiple teams looking into the former all-star, here are three possible trade scenarios that would make sense for the Pirates.

Over the past few seasons, Pittsburgh Pirates’ centerfielder Starling Marte has been the best overall player in the organization. Last year was no exception as Marte set career highs in many offensive categories, including home runs, RBIs, and OPS. With an expiring contract, new GM Ben Cherington will be looking to move the former all-star.

So far, there has been rumors that the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres are all in on trade talks with the Pirates (although a new report says the Mets might be out). The Cincinatti Reds and Philadelphia Phillies have also been rumored to have interest.

The Pirates’ needs are pretty straightforward: catching, corner-infield, and pitching. With a Marte trade, its reasonable to say they could work on filling at least two of those voids.We will start with a look at the Padres. Our friends over at Friars On Base recently put out an article outlining a 4-person mock trade, which I will start off by analyzing:

So in this trade the Pirates receive catcher Austin Hedges, outfielder Manuel Margot, and left-handed pitcher Adrian Morejon, who debuted last season, in exchange for Marte.

Hedges had a terrible year offensively last season, but is a strong defensive catcher that would certainly improve the hole left by the non-tender of Elias Diaz. Margot is one of the better defending centerfielders in baseball and would be a capable replacement in the everyday outfield. Morejon is the #6 prospect in the Padres’ system and is just 20-years old.

As for the Padres, they would receive a 3 WAR player for a season in return without having much salary gain (only $6M). Meanwhile Margot and Hedges are each arbitration eligible for the first time this season and will each make between $2-$3M and project as 1-2 WAR players. This trade would give the Pirates additional depth in Morejon and provide a short-term major league solution at catcher, something Cherington would like to do.

Obviously the centerpiece of this trade is the D-Backs’ starting catcher Carson Kelly. Arizona has no shortage of catching options after signing Steven Vogt and would be trading the offensive-minded Kelly to bring in two all-stars in Marte and closer Keone Kela. Marte would add to the strength of the Arizona outfield while Kela is the type of pitcher to turn an average bullpen into a great one.

The Pirates receive, in addition to a long-term solution at catcher, two right-handed pitching prospects. Jon Duplantier is the #6 prospect in the system and has a strong fastball. Last season he had a 3.98 FIP in 36+ innings in his first action at the major league level. Levi Kelly, the #8 prospect in the system, has a strong fastball and slider. He’s likely to be a strong late-inning reliever in the future.

Meanwhile, C. Kelly would easily find himself in the starting role with the Bucs. After being sent to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt deal, C. Kelly cranked 18 home runs in 365 plate appearances, good for a .826 OPS behind the plate. His future is bright, so if Arizona decides to withhold him from a trade, keep an eye on pitchers Alex Young and Taylor Clarke. Each would be ready for a major league role with the Pirates.

The centerpiece of this deal is another young catcher in Tyler Stephenson, the #7 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization. Stephenson is a strong defender with a great arm who hits for average and would provide the Pirates with a promising future at catcher. Alex Balndino also is an interesting utility player. Swapping him with Kevin Kramer will give the Pirates an extra option at short-stop.

Michael Lorenzen is a 2-way player who would fit the new mold that the Pirates seem to be trying out this season. Not only is Lorenzen a dominant reliever, posting a 2.92 ERA in 83+ innings, he also does everything for the Reds from pinch-running to closing out games in the field. Lorenzen has spent the last several years playing the field in limited experience for the Reds.

The Reds might not want to part ways with Lorenzen, but for this deal to work the Pirates must bring another pitcher into the organization, and Lorenzen fits the bill. In return, the Reds would receive pitching depth in right-hander James Marvel, a #9 prospect in Kramer, and of course Marte to replace Yasiel Puig in the outfield.

Now, Marvel wouldn’t be my first pick as the Reds, but that depends on whether they are looking to add upper-level depth or a lower-level prospect (like #17 prospect Steven Jennings). Other than that, the Reds would receive a reliable 3-WAR player without having to shuffle through free agency, while the Pirates could potentially fill multiple holes.

Next. Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Stay Tuned for a Starling Marte Trade. dark

All we can do now is play the waiting game. With the Mets seemingly out, and new teams in the bidding, hopefully the new front office will come through for the team and its fans. Now, what do you think? Do these trades make sense or do you have a better deal in mind? Let us know!