Right after the Marlins acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 31, Starling Marte boosted his new team with power, line drives, and a solid glove in center field. But now, a question is knocking at the front office’s door: What should they do with Marte’s 2021 club option?
The salary for his age-32 season will be $12.5M if the option is exercised. The Marlins also have the ability to ditch the contract for a $1M buyout. Consider that the highest-paid player on Miami’s 2020 active roster was Corey Dickerson ($8.75M).
On a conference call with reporters last Sunday, Marlins CEO Derek Jeter verbally committed to keeping Marte, but the decision won’t be finalized until after the World Series. Will he have second thoughts?
Even though Marte didn’t have overwhelming numbers while playing for the Fish, the Dominican veteran was a key piece in the final stretch of the regular season and helped win a bunch of games with his bat. In fact, the team won six of the nine games in which he registered at least one RBI.
Marte automatically gives Miami an experienced, athletic presence in the lineup. Heck! He’d be the best hitter at the plate for Don Mattingly and arguably the most well-rounded player on the squad: Starling can run, hit for power, hit for a good average, has a good arm, and obviously a good glove.
The front office can’t take that for granted. Not only would Marte boost the Marlins’ chances to compete again in 2021, but he also would be a mentor for a team that’s loaded with youngsters.
The Marlins will probably lose Matt Joyce to free agency, and Dickerson, the only other well-established outfielder under contract, is coming off a disappointing campaign. They’d be relying heavily on prospects in the outfield by letting Marte go.
Other free-agent options who might be available on a one-year deal include Kevin Pillar, who had a good season between Boston and Colorado, Jay Bruce (.721 OPS with the Phillies), Nick Markakis and Yasiel Puig (did not play at all in 2020).
But my choice (and maybe the safest one) is Marte. He’s a leader, gets the offense going, and got along well with his teammates. As a Latin American guy on a diverse Marlins roster, he’d be in a comfortable environment that could help him reach peak performance.
Let your voice be heard. What would you do? Tell us in the poll below.
What would you do with Starling Marte?
This poll is closed
I’d exercise his $12.5M club option for 2021.
I’d let him go and spend on someone else.
I’d let him go and fill his void with in-house options.