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Marlins make initial $30 million extension offer to Starling Marte

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The Miami Herald reports that there’s a substantial gap between the club and their star center fielder in early contract negotiations.

Miguel Rojas celebrates a Marlins win by hugging teammate Starling Marte Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish Stripes

You know where we stand on the subject of keeping Starling Marte beyond the 2021 season. Even with some regression at the plate in recent weeks, he’s still in the midst of an excellent all-around campaign, showing no signs of decline at age 32. Without an obvious successor in the organization who’s ready to take over center field in 2022, the Marlins need to make an effort to extend him.

With less than one month to go until the July 30 MLB trade deadline, the Fish have finally presented him with the “general framework” of an extension, according to the Miami Herald:

In an attempt to solidify center field, sources told the Miami Herald the Marlins have presented a three-year, $30 million contract extension offer to Starling Marte.

Sources believe Marte is unlikely to agree to this initial offer. However, there is speculation Miami could sweeten the proposal prior to the July 30 trade deadline. It remains unclear just how much this will be, but sources believe this three-year pact is the general framework Miami is willing to build on the proposed extension.

That’s laughable.

Marte is currently earning $12.5 million in the final year of an extremely team-friendly deal. If he chooses to test the market this winter, considering the free agent class’ weak crop of center fielders, he should be able to collect even more than that on an average annual basis. This initial offer from the Marlins only averages $10 million per year.

“Marte, per sources, is seeking a three- or four-year deal in the $50 million range,” the Herald adds. That is...surprisingly reasonable! What is stopping the Marlins, who barely have anything on the books for 2022 and beyond, from doing three guaranteed years plus a club option at that number? Marte has contributed approximately three wins above replacement through his first 75 games with the Marlins; even if his productivity gets cut in half moving forward, that would comfortably justify a $50 million commitment.

Entering Monday at 35-47, the Marlins do not have a path to seriously contend for a 2021 postseason beth. If they fail to find common ground with Marte prior to the deadline, the Herald expects him to be traded for younger, more controllable players.