The Oakland Athletics and Miami Marlins have agreed on a trade that will send outfielder Starling Marte and enough cash to cover his remaining salary to Oakland, the teams announced Wednesday. (ESPN's Jeff Passan added the financial details.) The A's are sending left-hander Jesús Luzardo back to Miami.
Marte, an impending free agent, was recently featured by CBS Sports as the eighth-best potential trade candidate. Here's what we wrote at the time:
The Miami Marlins have reportedly offered Starling Marte an extension worth something like $50 million over three or four years. That would seem too team-friendly to get a deal done, but perhaps the Marlins can close the gap between now and the deadline. If not, he's going to make for an enticing rental. Marte has also been playing a good center field, meaning that he's a legitimate all-around contributor.
The A's will ostensibly use Marte in a corner-outfield position, with Ramón Laureano remaining in center and Mark Canha taking the other corner. The move figures to substantially cut into the playing time afforded to Stephen Piscotty and Seth Brown, as neither has performed nearly as well as Marte has so far this season. Marte had a .306/.407/.453 slash line (136 OPS+) in 63 games this season in Miami.
How does the Starling Marte deal impact his fantasy value? CBS Sports' Fantasy Baseball Today podcast broke it down on an emergency episode. Listen below and check out Chris Towers' analysis here.
This is the third time Marte has been traded since the beginning of 2020. He went from the Pirates to the Diamondbacks in January 2020, and then was acquired by the Marlins at the 2020 trade deadline last August.
The A's entered Wednesday with a 56-46 record on the season, good for a one-game lead over the Seattle Mariners in the race for the second wild card spot. SportsLine's projections have the Athletics improving their playoff odds from 36.6 percent to 46.6 percent after this trade. Additionally, the A's World Series projections have nearly doubled, from winning it in 1.4 percent of sims to claiming the crown in 2.7 percent of them.
Luzardo, 24 come September, isn't far removed from being considered a top prospect. Alas, he's had a rough season to date, accumulating a 6.87 ERA (59 ERA+) in 38 innings before being demoted to the minors. Luzardo made 15 starts in his Oakland career with another 16 appearances out of the bullpen. His struggles have continued at the Triple-A level in 2021, where he's sporting a 6.52 ERA and a bloated walk rate (more than one every other inning) after eight outings.
Luzardo also continues to be subjected to questions about his durability. Despite being a professional since 2017, he's thrown more than 100 innings in a season just once, with that coming in 2018. He missed time earlier this season after hurting his pinky while playing a video game. Still, if the Marlins can help Luzardo realize his past promise -- and there's no guarantee they can -- then the risk will be worth the reward.