The Pittsburgh Pirates most valuable trade chip this offseason might be outfielder Starling Marte. Apparently, the team even exchanged names for a potential deal.
Pittsburgh Pirates fans know it is a matter of when, not if, Startling Marte is traded. However, there has not been a ton of rumors surrounding the outfielder.
So far it has been reported that the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres have shown some level of interest in the outfielder. The Mets have the been the most talked about team in regards to Starling Marte. However, as recently as this past weekend, it was reported that the two sides remained far apart.
The Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates might not be as far apart on a deal as it sounds. Last night, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweeted out an update on the Bucs five-tool outfielder. Heyman sheds light on how advanced talks between the two sides have gotten, along with a couple of other teams that have checked in on the outfielder: Heyman tweeted:
As Heyman notes, there is not any deal close to happening per se, but it still is telling that talks got to that point. The Mets have some interesting prospects, including their number two prospect Francisco Alvarez, who is a catcher. They also have several pitching prospects that they could offer in a trade.
One thing that remains consistent is the Pittsburgh Pirates hunt for catching. Three of the four team’s that Heyman mentions have catching prospects inside their team’s respected top 10 prospect lists. The Diamondbacks’ number two prospect is Daulton Varsho and the Padres have Luis Campusano, who ranks as their number six prospect. The Ranger’s top catching prospect is a rising prospect named Sam Huff, who is a top 20 prospect.
Furthermore, it seems that Ben Cherington and company are looking for the best overall package, which is good news. The last regime had a way of taking quantity over quality with their big trade chips, which did not work out. Whether that package involves Brandon Nimmo or just prospects, Cherington and company have to get the right return in any Marte trade.