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Starling Marte, Pirates agree to long-term extension

Mar 26, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

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Last week Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that outfielder Starling Marte had turned down multiple long-term contract extension offers from the Pirates, but now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the two sides have agreed to a six-year, $31 million deal.

Marte is still another year away from arbitration eligibility and under the Pirates’ control through 2018 already, so because the six-year contract technically begins this season it would buy out his first year of free agency. According to Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio the contract also includes two team options.

After a 47-game debut in 2012 he became a regular for Pittsburgh last season and hit .280 with 12 homers, 41 stolen bases, and a .784 OPS in 135 games, along with very good defense in left field. Marte has a ton of long-term potential, especially if he can improve upon his awful plate discipline and strike zone control after posting a 138/25 K/BB ratio in 2013. Even while hacking away at everything he ranked among the most valuable all-around outfielders in the league as a 24-year-old.

Pittsburgh has reigning MVP center fielder Andrew McCutchen locked up through 2018 and stud right field prospect Gregory Polanco waiting in the wings at Triple-A, so the Pirates should be set (and very good) for a long time.

  1. jb8588 - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Wow! As a Pirates fan I’m thrilled. What a great signing…this will be a steal before you know it.

  2. bobhpine - Mar 26, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Amazing. The Pirates are looking more and more like a competent organization. Great signing.

    The Pirates have control over three of Marte’s FA years which would take him up to age 33. For a player like Marte (speed/contact guy), that’s basically through his entire prime. Who is passing out smart pills on the North Shore of Pittsburgh?

    • paperlions - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      Are there 2 options year? Six years just accounts for 1 year of FA and takes him up to age 31…but yeah, a great deal as far as duration and probably a steal with respect to what he would earn if healthy all 6 of those years.

  3. runhigh24 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:28 PM

    Good signing, but let’s pump the brakes on calling the Pirates a competent organization until they actually fill the black hole that is currently their first base position.

    • steelpenbucs87 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Competence doesn’t necessarily mean not having holes… I agree with you that the left side of the platoon at 1B is desperately in need of an upgrade, but having areas of improvement does not preclude them from being competent. Many “competent” teams have Major League holes right now.

    • apkyletexas - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      Would it have been “competent” to pay $10-$15 million for a couple of years for one of the vastly over-rated first basemen on the free agent market this year? And be stuck with him?

      I’d say the smart thing to do is keep plugging in guys from the minors and affordable free agents and see if someone decides to try to produce and keep a job.

      Make these guys compete – see who really wants it.

  4. ejheim62 - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    as a Pirates fan, this is great news. Need to lock up Liriano next – he’s FA after this season, if memory serves

  5. musketmaniac - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Quiet off season, my ass. Big signing. as apky states, stupid to gamble on what you don’t know. Marte and Morton’s inked to long term contracts sends a message to the guys on the field now.

    • paperlions - Mar 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      It has been quiet, but quiet in a good way. IMO, the Pirates have had a smart offseason. They have a solid team and some excellent prospects on the way that could fill holes in the lineup (RF) and the rotation by June (or earlier)….no need to over spend on FA when you already have the talent you need.

  6. musketmaniac - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Ej, Don’t be shocked if Liriano is not the Veteran Left Hander we sign. Waiting on Wandy to have a big year. No wbc this year to knock him out early.

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