There has been quite a few around Bucs nation speculating that the Pirates should trade Starling Marte but to who? For what? But should they?
First most obvious question is should the Pirates trade Marte. Trading Marte at this point would signal a rebuild rather than retooling. As arguably the best position player currently on the team, he is one you build around not sell off. But also being one of the few center fielders potentially available his value has never been higher.
So who wants Marte? Last month Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors looked for a potential match for Marte. Jeff listed Toronto, Chicago Cubs and White Sox, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Texas and Cincinnati as the most interesting.
Of those the Mets, Phillies and Cubs seem to make the most since seeing how the others are a long shot to compete next year. These three have a need in the outfield and Marte likely fits the bill in a talented cost control center fielder.
But do any of them have the talent to make a trade work? Lets take a look.
Starting with the Mets. Their prospect class is fairly light with no real stand out pieces. But they do have some quality at some needed positions.
Brett Baty a top 100 prospect at third base projected to hit the MLB in 2023. Before you yell, BUT WE GOT HAYES! Yes we do. But going into 2024 Hayes will likely be nearing the end of his contract and is far from a “sure thing” Having a depth option in a couple years would be very beneficial.
Matthew Allen, Right handed pitcher projected to be in the MLB again in 2023. Pirates are in need of quality pitching in the pipeline especially with the trade Baz in the Archer deal. Pipeline has him as a potential frontline starter.
Catcher Francisco Alverez is projected to make his MLB debut in 2023 (catching the theme here?). Alverez has some defensive question marks but his bat plays well. With the Pirates having very little depth at catcher, Alverez would go a long way to filling that need.
These three would have enough to get a conversation started, but would likely take a bit more given there is no stand out prospect in that mix. Someone like Mazeika to be a stop gap option at the Catcher position and/or a lower ranked near ready out fielder to be a cheap fill in for Marte to get some real traction.
On to the Phillies, they do have some prospects that can get a deal done more easily than the Mets
Alec Bohm, third basemen, projected in 2021 has a bat that could impress. A top 50 prospect with a offense first approach. With his defense a question mark his offense should make up for that. Really, the defense should be better than Moran’s.
Spencer Howard, right handed pitcher projected in 2020. He would be the real gem in any trade. Hes not a top 50 prospect like Bohm and his MLB time line is a little soon for a rebuild but would be worth it to make a run going into the end of his rookie contract.
Bohm and Howard are enough to get a real conversation going, but like with the Mets probably still not enough. Adding in someone like Marchan (catcher) and/or Randolph (OF) again to fill depth and to take over an OF position until the team is ready to push again.
The Cubs would be an interesting trade given the division rivalry. However if the Pirates are going into rebuild mode it doesn’t really matter much. Plus Marte fans will get to see him more often, even if he is in the wrong colors. The Cubs are a little short on quality prospects and also getting tight on payroll. In my opinion this is a hard sell all around so this will be the cliff notes on getting the conversation started.
Miguel Amaya, Lower top 100 defense first catcher with the possibility for an average MLB bat.
Brailyn Marquez, Lefty with a pretty good fastball with indications he’ll end up in the pen.
Ryan Jensen, one of the better fastballs of all MiLB prospects that could stick as a starter, but with his fastball and fair slider he has a good shot at being a top reliever in the MLB
These three would make me listen but with out coming back with more I wouldn’t talk back.
Jeff also mentions the Padres as a potential suitor. If I where the Pirates general manager, this is who I would reach out to instead of waiting for them to call me. They have the prospects to get a deal done in short order with fewer bodies moving around and in fact the Pirates may need to send more than just Marte to get needs filled. Gore, number 4 prospect as a left handed pitcher, Campusano lower top 100 catching prospect. Patino a top 50 pitching prospect that will likely stay a starter. These three in one deal for Marte would require more from the Pirates for sure either in terms of young MLB players or quite a bit of cash. This deal is not happening BUT some combination of two of those three would be a great headline.