The Pittsburgh Pirates may be moving outfielder Starling Marte before the start of spring training, as trade talks with the New York Mets and San Diego Padres are intensifying, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.
Both clubs have been linked to the former All-Star throughout the winter. The Mets have re-emerged as potential trade partners after exchanging names with the Pirates in December, but SNY's Andy Martino reports New York and Pittsburgh remain far apart in negotiations.
The Padres, meanwhile, are on the lookout for more outfield help after already acquiring Tommy Pham from the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason. San Diego has reportedly discussed a deal with the Boston Red Sox for 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts.
Marte is set to earn $11.5 million on a club option for 2020 and has a $12.5-million team option with a $1-million buyout for 2021. The nature of his contract likely makes him a more affordable short-term outfield option than free agents like Yasiel Puig or Nicholas Castellanos, and he carries an extra year of control compared to Betts.
The 31-year-old has posted consistent offensive numbers throughout his career, boasting a .287/.341/.452 slash line with 108 home runs and 239 stolen bases over 953 games since his MLB debut in 2012.
Pittsburgh has posted losing campaigns in three of the last four seasons and is mired in a rebuild after going 69-93 in 2019, prompting speculation around Marte as the team's likeliest trade candidate.