Pirates Reportedly Seek Star Catching Prospect in Starling Marte Trade

Starling Marte
Pittsburgh Pirates star Starling Marte is on the trade block | Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Starling Marte is an elite, slugging center fielder entering a market that's nearly entirely depleted, in terms of center field options. If the Pirates deal him before Opening Day to escalate their rebuild, odds are they'll be able to get more this offseason than they ever have before.

And, to headline the impressive package they're expecting, you'd better include a top catcher.

The 31-year-old Marte slugged a career-high 23 homers and 82 RBI in 2019, slashing .295/.342/.503. Though he's a two-time Gold Glove winner, his -9 runs saved mark last season is a career low point.

Of course, the real black mark on Marte's resume is a steroid suspension. He served an 80-gamer in 2018, meaning a second offense will ban him for a full 162 games, plus the postseason.

In terms of potential destinations, the "catcher" stipulation throws a bit of a wrinkle into things. After all, we're not sure who the Mets, a heavily rumored destination, have to offer behind the plate.

Perhaps the Dodgers could dangle Keibert Ruiz, if they deal Joc Pederson to the White Sox in a separate deal, as rumored? Maybe the Rays get involved with Ronaldo Hernandez as their centerpiece?

We're not certain where things go from here. After all, nothing's rarer than a catching prospect.