Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Could Starling Marte go to Atlanta?


The Pittsburgh Pirates have had a slow offseason due to so much change on the organizational side of things.  They still possess their most valuable trade chip.

At the beginning of the offseason, the expectation was that no matter who the General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates would be, that they would likely trade Starling Marte.  Marte is one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball, has an affordable two years of team control left covering 2020 and 2021 at $11.5 million and $12.5 million for each season.  On top of that, the free-agent market for outfielders this offseason was very mediocre.  If a team wanted to add a real impact center field option, then Marte would be a logical trade candidate.

A lot of the offseason has gone by and Marte still remains a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates roster.  The expectation from insiders and reporters is for the team to still trade the All-Star outfielder, but it has turned into a matter of when.  What is the holdup?  Are they not getting the right return, improper value for the outfielder, or are they waiting out the market?

If the Pittsburgh Pirates are waiting out the market then that likely means they are waiting for the remaining impact free agents to sign.  The last remaining outfielder of note is Marcel Ozuna, who is athletic enough to play all three outfield spots and, like Marte, is a right-handed bat.  However, another big domino came off the board last night that could actually play a factor in Starling Marte’s trade market.

Last night it was reported that the Minnesota Twins and Josh Donaldson reached an agreement on a four-year contract.  This obviously is a big move for the Twins, but also a big one for baseball.  Many teams such as the Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, and maybe even the Los Angeles Dodgers showed interest.  The other team that showed the most interest in him was the Atlanta Braves, who employed Donaldson in 2019.

Now that the Braves missed out on Donaldson they will have to look to add an impact bat in another way.  There is talk about them potentially trying to get Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant, but those names are not all that likely to be moved.  Instead, the Braves could consider moving second-year player Austin Riley from the outfield to third base, his natural position.

If the Atlanta Braves do decide that Arenado and Bryant are going to be too difficult to acquire, a Marte trade might be their best option to add an impact right-handed bat.  Furthermore, the Braves have exactly what the Pittsburgh Pirates would seek in a trade.  They have three catching prospects ranked inside their top 15 prospects along with plenty of starting pitching prospects.  In general, the Braves have a top three farm system in baseball.

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The Pittsburgh Pirates are playing the long game with Starling Marte talks.  Ben Cherington and his staff know this is their best trade chip and the return will be very important in getting the organization back on the right path.  If the Braves viewed Marte as a potential fall back if Donaldson signed elsewhere, then a deal could happen sooner than later.