Marlins Pick Up Marte’s Option
Marlins Pick Up Marte’s Option
Jul 18, 2024 1:18 PM

MLB’s offseason officially began today as the 2020 World Series came to an end. The Los Angeles Dodgers took home the trophy in what was the strangest season in MLB history. The Marlins made some history along the way as well, making the postseason for the first time since 2003. The Marlins, meanwhile, started their offseason by picking up the $12.5 million team option on centerfielder Starling Marte.

The Marlins have exercised their 2021 option on OF Starling Marte.

— Marlins Communications (@MarlinsComms) October 28, 2020

Marte Back with Marlins for 2021

This news shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, considering the price the Marlins paid to acquire Marte from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Miami sent starting pitchers Caleb Smith and Humberto Mejia, as well as a low-level minor league relief pitcher Julio Frias, to the DBacks for Marte’s services.

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the team always planned to bring back Marte. He was never considered a rental by the club.

“We moved some very talented players in our mind to get Marte,” Jeter said of the deal last week.

For the Marlins, Marte hit just .245, with a .286 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage. He tallied 13 RBI, six doubles, five steals and four home runs in 28 games played for Miami. He stabilized a centerfield that was in flux throughout the first half of the season. Marlins manager Don Mattinglyrotated five different players in center prior to Marte’s arrival.

Marte had his Marlins cap make it to Cooperstownsince he played 61 games in MLB’s 60-game season.

New to Cooperstown: The cap worn by @Starlingmart in his final game of the 2020 regular season has arrived @baseballhall. With a mid-season trade, Marte appeared in an @MLB-leading 61 games during the abbreviated 60-game regular season. Thank you Starling, and thank you @Marlins!

— Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_HOF) October 23, 2020

Unfortunately, Marte finished the season injured, after Chicago Cubs reliever Dan Winkler’s pitch broke Marte’s pinky.The injury forced him to miss the Marlins’ NLDS series with the Braves and his offense would have been useful. Miami scored just five runs in the three-game sweep.

Bringing back Marte adds a reliable veteran presence to the Marlins’ outfield and lineup. Although he struggled at times this season, a look at his career stats indicates he should be able to hit consistently. He’s athletic and speedy, making him a threat on the base paths and an excellent defender. At $12.5 million, the team option isn’t cheap, but if the 32-year-old Marte underperforms, the Marlins can move on next year.

This move makes Marte the highest paid players on the Marlins active roster for 2021, topping Corey Dickerson‘s $8.75 million. It’s the right choice for an up-and-coming club that needs reliable veterans to mentor the young players.

Beyond Marte, the Marlins also have to decide on Brandon Kintzler’s team option. The 36-year-old reliever locked down the closer position for Miami in 2020. He converted 12 of 14 save opportunities during the regular season and posted a 2.22 ERA over 24.1 innings pitched.

Kintzler’s option stands at $4 million and the team open to bringing him back for 2021.

More Marlins Moves to Come

With the World Series now complete, MLB’s free agency is set to begin on November 1st . The market will see additional names added after December 2nd non-tender deadline. Beyond that, the Winter Meetings loom, with the Rule 5 Draft set to happen on December 10th. The makeup of the 40-man roster, which needs to be addressed, must be finalized by November 20th.

The Marlins, though, may enter this stretch without a President of Baseball Operations. Michael Hill and the club could not come to an agreement to extend his contract. Hill’s departure opens a front office position, but the team is in no hurry to fill that spot.

“We have a lot of smart baseball minds in our organization and there’s smart baseball minds around the game. It takes some time to sit down and see what type of person we need in this particular role,” Jeter said last week.

MLB Network’s Craig Mishsaid New York Yankees vice president Tim Naehring and special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman Jim Hendry, who’s a former GM himself, are two potential possibilities to fill the vacancy. The Yankees connection between these clubs runs deep.

Mish mentioned Gary Denbo, the Marlins’ Director of Player Development and Scouting, is likely to stay in his current role. Meanwhile, Dan Greenlee, another former Yankees’ executive, earned a promotion to Assistant General Manager after spending time as Director of Player Personnel.

We’ll see where the Marlins go from here, but it’s clear that even with a new President of Baseball Operations in tow, all front office decisions will likely go through Jeter.

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