The Houston Astros are weakened without high-leverage hurlers coming out of the bullpen, but it seems like every aspect of the game can be boosted. Center field discussions were the headline for the offseason, but as of yesterday, a new rumor is that the front office has reached out to the Miami Marlins about Starling Marte.
Along with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees, the Astros are in discussion with the likely to be traded outfielder. Marte is looking to be extended in the neighborhood of $30 million over three years, but the talks are fading away.
The Astros could use a boost in center field hitting production, but is Starling Marte the answer?
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Myles Straw has been worlds better ever since May, and while fielding at a league leading level, the Astros are still interested in Marte. While Pedro Leon was called from Double-A to Triple-A on Sunday, the top ranked position player prospect should be thought of before shopping the position. Leon has played most of his innings at shortstop but is elite in the outfield as well.
Marte is a one-time All-Star that will most likely be a rental come the end of July. While slashing .287/.391/.446 in 55 games (injury) this season, the right-hander could see a rise in value during free agency. But for now, the Astros should steer clear. The report says that the Astros among the two other teams are just checking in, so there is nothing else set in stone.
With most of his career games coming in left field (593), Marte has totaled 489 in center. While a strong defender and consistent hitter, the right-hander would surely be an upgrade in center. With a $12.5 million contract on the books, the number prorated wouldn’t be damaging the payroll as much but doesn’t leave a lot of room for a high-end arm.
We don’t know the exact number or how much general manager James Click is working with, but with Straw, Chas McCormick and possibly Leon in the mix, the Astros should look to high-leverage pitching instead.