Texas Rangers: Trade option Starling Marte dealt to Arizona Diamondbacks
By Kenneth Nash
Just a few hours after missing out on top free agent target Nick Castellanos, logical Texas Rangers trade option Starling Marte was dealt to Arizona.
For Texas Rangers fans hoping to see the club add another significant bat to the lineup this offseason, it’s been a frustrating day. After Jon Daniels seemingly cooled interest on heavily linked free agent Nick Castellanos over the weekend, the 27-year old signed with the Cincinnati Reds, slamming shut the door on the move the Rangers looked to favorites to make. Compounding that frustration was the news Monday afternoon that Starling Marte, who many linked as a possible trade target for the Rangers, was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Marte entered the offseason as a high profile trade target for many clubs, with the Rangers expected to be among the suitors. After trading 2019 starting center fielder, Delino DeShields, to the Cleveland Indians, adding a player of Marte’s quality that can play CF made a lot of sense to those trying to predict the organization’s moves this offseason. As the club made their upgrades behind the plate and at third base, first base and center field options have become the assumed priority, with Marte the best available option.
The 31-year old has one year remaining on his deal at $11.5 million with a team option for 2021 at $12.5 million. Marte has been one of the more valuable outfielders in baseball through his career and kept that trend up in 2019 hitting .295 with an .845 OPS through 132 games. He finished the year with a 3.0 fWAR despite a significant drop in defensive measurements seeing him go from a 4.4 UZR/150 in 2018 to a -8.3 last season.
The drop in defense was likely a cause of concern for the Rangers if they were indeed interested, but Marte still would have been an easy fit for a team lacking a true center fielder as well as a middle of the order right-handed bat. In the end though, perhaps the cost might’ve been too high with the Pirates landing a pair of prospects from Arizona that are both thought to be high-ceiling players, quickly moving up the ranks.
The miss on Marte likely won’t spell the end of the Rangers efforts to make upgrades however. It seems the club is looking nearly everywhere to make an offensive upgrade and there are options that still remain including Marte’s former Pirates teammate and DFW native, Josh Bell. Seeing both Castellanos sign and Marte be traded on the same day may signal that the rest of the top end of the market should move quickly. Texas will have to decide if there is an upgrade out there worth making though.