The Starling Marte saga is finally complete.
The Marlins have traded the 32-year-old center fielder to the Oakland Athletics for LHP Jesús Luzardo. Craig Mish first reported the deal with the A’s.
The Marlins will pay the rest of Marte’s salary—about $4.5 million—for this season, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Taking on Marte’s salary allowed the Marlins to acquire one of the most promising young arms in all of baseball.
Luzardo struggled mightily in a short sample size in the Majors this year, posting a 6.87 ERA in 38 innings. Luzardo started six games and appeared in seven more out of the bullpen. The Marlins—who have created a great track record of developing young pitching—are likely very excited to get their hands on the young lefty. Marlins manager Don Mattingly spoke to that sentiment.
“We know where we’ve been, an organization that’s built around pitching, and to get a guy like that back at the trade deadline with huge potential is obviously a nice deal for us,” Mattingly said.
The 23-year-old was born in Peru and moved to South Florida at a very young age. He went to high school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Washington Nationals. Luzardo was a consensus top-25 prospect in baseball prior to the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He now joins his hometown team and manager Don Mattingly expects him to slot into their major league rotation immediately.
Marlins General Manager Kim Ng discussed what intrigued the team about Luzardo.
“He’s got a great arm,” Ng said. “He’s got very good secondary stuff between the slider and the changeup, and we just felt he was a great fit. Obviously we value pitching quite a bit and we we just feel like he fits right into our group.”
The A’s will get a great player in return in Starling Marte. The 32-year-old center fielder is in the middle of a career year, posting career highs in both wRC+ (140) and OPS (.856). He currently sits second in the National League in stolen bases with 22.
Ng said it was very hard to move on from Marte.
“I have to say that trading a player of Starling’s caliber is always difficult,” Ng said. “We all have an understanding of how big a part of the club he was...It was difficult on a lot different fronts, but I think that we are really happy with the return.”
The Yankees were arguably the favorite to trade for Marte earlier this week. The teams couldn’t find common ground, reports Newsday’s Erik Boland, with Miami seeking breakout shortstop prospect Anthony Volpe during the negotiations.
The Marlins made multiple attempts to extend Marte before the All-Star break, but their efforts fell short when the two sides could not agree on the length of a deal. Mattingly said Marte was a huge part of what the Marlins were able to accomplish after they acquired him.
“The acquisition and the timing of it, we felt like he was a big part of pushing forward and giving us that boost to be able to make a playoff run,” Mattingly said. “A guy that our players respect, I think he’s respected throughout the game the way he handles himself, the way he goes about his business. So he’s been a total positive for us an organization.”
As for where the club will go to replace Marte log term, Ng mentioned Double-A OF Peyton Burdick as an internal option. She was asked if they have considered options outside the club and had a simple response.
“We’re always looking to make the club better,” Ng said. “Whether that it’s internal or external we’re just gonna have to see.”
The Marlins are not done at the deadline, as Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Marlins will look to use their pitching surplus to upgrade their offense.
“I wouldn’t put anything past us,” Ng said with a smile.
Addition of Luzardo only increases Marlins’ pitching depth. Team looking to turn some of it into offense.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2021
She hinted that the Marlins are looking to significantly improve their roster for 2022.
“In terms of next year, there’s still moves we would like to make,” Ng said. “This is not a finished group for next year. These are some of the first steps that we’ve gotta take, and we’ve gotta add to our arsenal, and these guys are definitely part of it.”
As for a possible—though unlikely—return, Ng said the team would “absolutely” leave the door open to talking to Marte in the offseason.
“For a player of that caliber we always have to be open minded,” Ng said. “Especially knowing him and what he brings to the table every single day, our doors and our ears are open, certainly.”