The Arizona Diamondbacks are refusing to concede the National League West. Their acquisition of Starling Marte just made their chances that much better.
In theory, the National League West is still the playground of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After all, they have won the division for seven consecutive seasons, with barely a hint of opposition. The San Diego Padres have improved, and may well catch the Dodgers in time, but the division is still theirs. The rest of the division, including the Arizona Diamondbacks? Well, thanks for playing.
The thing is, the Diamondbacks did not get that memo. While they had traded Zack Greinke during the season, and there was plenty of speculation that Robbie Ray was on his way out of the desert, Arizona has instead reloaded. Madison Bumgarner was brought on board, and the Diamondbacks are taking a chance on Kole Calhoun and Stephen Vogt. However, there was still a piece missing.
That piece may have come on Monday in the form of Starling Marte, whose long running trade saga with the Pittsburgh Pirates has come to an end. In exchange, the Diamondbacks sent a pair of high upside prospects, Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone, to Pittsburgh, along with $250,000 in international signing bonus money. The Pirates, meanwhile, will foot $1.5 million of Marte’s contract.
One can certainly understand why the Diamondbacks would take this chance. Marte had a typically strong all around season in 2019, posting a .295/.342/.503 batting line with 23 homers, 31 doubles, and 25 steals. He has proven to be an excellent offensive catalyst.
That may well be what the Diamondbacks are envisioning as well. With the newly arrived Marte pairing with his namesake Ketel Marte, Arizona has quite the dynamic duo atop their lineup. With that pair hitting in front of the likes of Christian Walker, David Peralta, and Calhoun, the Diamondbacks lineup has a great deal of potential.
Marte is also more than just a rental. While he is signed through this season, the Diamondbacks now hold a very affordable $12.5 million option for 2021. Barring a complete implosion, Marte figures to be a part of the Diamondbacks’ future for at least the next two seasons.
Starling Marte may not be enough to propel the Arizona Diamondbacks to the NL West title. However, he makes them that much more interesting for the coming season.