Giants reportedly ‘one of the key teams to watch’ in Starling Marte sweepstakes

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At an impasse in contract talks, the Marlins seem destined to move outfielder Starling Marte, who leads Miami in steals (19), batting average (.290) and wins above replacement (2.5), at next week’s trade deadline. Marte, as detailed in Monday’s landing spots story, should be a hot commodity come July 30th, drawing reported interest from the Yankees, Astros and Phillies, among other suitors. Per Craig Mish and Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald, the Giants have also emerged as a team to watch in the budding Marte sweepstakes.

Despite Marte expressing his desire to remain with Miami long-term, the sides could never quite come together on a deal with the Marlins offering the veteran a reported three-year, $30-million extension (though sources suggest that proposal was actually closer to $40 million). Regardless, the sides have since broken off talks, a development many see as the precursor for Marte’s inevitable trade. A lifetime .287 hitter who ranks fifth among active players in steals (268), Marte would be a solid get for the Giants, owners of MLB’s top record at 59-34 (.634 win percentage), two games ahead of their division rival, the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

It’s hard to identify a weakness in the Giants, who have flourished throughout 2021, though if there’s one area they could stand to improve it’s their outfield, which ranks just 21st among MLB teams in batting average (.235). Marte has struggled in his career at AT&T Park (.133 AVG with 15 strikeouts in 60 at-bats), though the Giants, in their eagerness to distance themselves from the Dodgers and Padres in the NL West, seem willing to look past that. While it’s unclear what exact pieces a Marte deal would entail, according to the Herald, the Marlins could be eyeing a return package built around minor-league outfielder Heliot Ramos, No. 63 in MLB’s latest prospect rankings. In his 62 appearances for Double-A Richmond this year, the former 19th overall pick has contributed a .237/.323/.432 batting line with 10 homers, 26 RBI and seven steals.

In the likely event that Marte is moved at the deadline, it will be the third time the 32-year-old impending free agent has been traded in the past 18 months.

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