Report: Starling Marte Offered Multiyear Contract by Marlins Ahead of Trade Deadline

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AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Miami Marlins have tabled a multiyear extension to center fielder Starling Marte, according to Jordan McPherson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald.

McPherson and Mish wrote the Marlins are “hopeful” of getting a deal worked out by the July 30 trade deadline. Should the negotiations reach a stalemate, Miami might move Marte, who’s in the final year of his six-year, $31 million contract.

The report said Marte is looking to sign for three or four years “in the $50 million range.” Under either scenario, that’s a fairly reasonable total for a player with his age or profile. The four-year pact would provide a lower average salary but mean the Marlins or another team would be paying for his age-36 season, so a three-year deal has some benefits.

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The 2016 All-Star has been one of Miami’s best players in 2021, putting up six home runs, 18 RBI and a .296/.403/.456 slash line through 46 appearances.

His .859 OPS is up noticeably from his career average (.794), but that’s attributable mostly to the fact he’s drawing more walks than ever.

Marte’s walk percentage (13.4) is a career high and more than double his career average (5.3 percent), per FanGraphs. His improved eye at the plate is presumably something he can carry over into 2022 and beyond.

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If the Marlins can’t work something out with Marte by the end of the month, trading him would make sense. Miami could probably get more value than the compensation pick it would receive by extending him the qualifying offer and having him turn it down in the offseason.

But losing Marte wouldn’t exactly send a great message for an ownership group that’s mostly associated with keeping payroll well below league average.  

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Marlins had the 23rd-highest Opening Day payroll in MLB for 2018, the first season in which Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter were in charge. They subsequently ranked 29th, 27th and 28th over the next three years.

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Failing to re-sign Marte might have some fans asking when the organization is planning to turn the money it has saved into tangible investments.

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