For the Pittsburgh Pirates to remain successful in the long term, the plan is as simple as keeping their young talent in house.
One key cog in the Pirates resurgence has been outfielder Starling Marte. It makes sense that the team would look to extend Marte sooner rather than later.
That seems to be the plan for Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and his staff, but executing that plan seems to be maybe more difficult than anyone originally thought.
The Pirates are trying to sign Marte to an extension, but he has declined at least two offers so far, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes.
It is worth noting that Biertempfel notes Marte is open to an extension.
The young left fielder has one year and 70 days of service time, is currently eligible for arbitration following the 2015 season and not eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season.
It makes sense to buy those arbitration years out now as they could become very pricey if Marte continues to evolve as a player.
Marte posted a .280/.343/.441 slash line while playing excellent defense in left field in his first full season in the majors last year.
There have been some suggestions that Marte could covet a lot bigger extension that the Pirates may have originally thought.
Charlie Wilmoth of MLBTR noted early in the offseason that a Marte extension could be in the five-year, $16.5 million range that Denard Span received. However Wilmoth also notes that extensions like the six-year $32.4 million contract given to Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran, who also has only 1 1/2 years of service time, could drive up Marte’s value.
Then there is the Andrew McCutchen factor, which I feel will play a major role in a Marte extension.
When Cutch signed his six-year contract extension worth $51.5 million in 2012, it definitely looked like a team-friendly deal. Given the last two seasons McCutchen has put up and it has become an outright bargain for the Pirates.
Do you think that Cutch would sign the same deal today?
It’s nice to see that the Pirates are serious about extending Marte and it is nicer to see that the young outfielder is open to an extension. And while it would be good to see something get done before the season begins, there are a lot of factors that would suggest that locking up Marte could be easier said than done.