Braves: Could Starling Marte be an answer to the Braves outfield issues?

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As I talked about yesterday, the Braves’ offense has been their Achilles heel over the last month. They’ve scored three runs or less in 14 of their last 19 games, but despite that, they’ve been able to stay in the NL East race, thanks to the struggles of the Mets as well. However, if they want to make up the ground over the second half of the season, they’ll have to find answers offensively. One of those could come internally in the form of catcher Travis d’Arnaud, but they’ll need to add at least one formidable bat at the trade deadline, preferably an outfielder. We’ve gone over several potential options over the last several weeks, but I’ve been asked several times about a particular division rival that could be on the move — Starling Marte, who just so happens to be one of the Braves’ opponents this weekend.

Now, typically trades between division rivals are rare, but this is a slightly different scenario, given that Marte is in the final year of his contract. Since the Marlins won’t be competing this season, it makes the most sense for them to take the best offer they can get at the trade deadline. However, the Braves won’t be giddy to hand Miami a prospect that could haunt them for years to come, and if it comes down to a situation where there are comparable offers, I expect the Marlins to send him out of the division. After all, these are division rivals that just played in the playoffs against each other last season. With that being said, it shouldn’t be totally counted out. One of the biggest trades we’ve seen in baseball recently — JT Realmuto going to the Phillies — was between two division rivals, so who knows.

As far as the talent on the field, Marte would be a welcome addition. He won’t replace Marcell Ozuna in the power department — Marte’s only had 20+ home runs in two seasons and has just six in 50 games this season. However, he’s a .286 career hitter that is getting on base at nearly a .400 clip in 2021 (.390). Marte boasts a career OPS of .793 and OPS+ of 115 (15% above league average), and his year-to-year consistency is remarkable. On top of that, he’s a plus defensively, recording 0.5 dWAR in centerfield for the Marlins.

I’m a big fan of Marte; I also appreciate his relationship with Acuña and Albies, which could help boost the morale in the clubhouse — something that is desperately needed after the way this season has gone. However, for a couple of reasons, I view Marte as a long shot to come to Atlanta.

First and foremost, it looks like the Marlins have interest in retaining him. They reportedly have a multi-year offer on the table already, but it’s not yet to Marte’s liking, who is looking for a “three- or four-year deal in the $50 million range.” So unless the Marlins really get the feeling that he has no interest in re-signing, there’s a great chance they don’t even trade him before the deadline.

On top of that, Marte is just a one-year rental, and that’s the business the Braves shouldn’t be in at this year’s trade deadline. I do think the Braves will be buyers, but since they are currently 4.5 games back in the NL East, they need to be thinking past just this season, which means anybody they trade for should be under contract through at least 2022. If they like Marte enough to meet his reported contract demands, perhaps that changes things, but I find that unlikely after what happened to Ozuna and given that Marte will be 33-years-old next season.

1 thought on “Braves: Could Starling Marte be an answer to the Braves outfield issues?”

  1. Pingback: Braves: Could Starling Marte be an answer to the Braves outfield issues? - TheAtlantaStar

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