The Athletics acquired outfielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins on Tuesday for former top pitching prospect Jesús Luzardo.
Among first thoughts, it didn’t appear to be the typical A’s-type of a transaction, but perhaps that’s a good thing. As the team heads toward another playoff race, the trade was more of a here-and-now mentality, and it appeared the team was more than OK with it.
“We felt like Starling was frankly the best position player that was out on the market,” A’s general manager David Forst said on Tuesday. “We talked about him for weeks internally, considering what we felt was the need in the outfield and the need for a bat.”
Forst said it was just a matter of making the deal itself.
“It’s not easy to trade a player like Jesús,” Forst added. “I think that’s kind of the bottom line, but ultimately, we always said when the team in this clubhouse performs and puts themselves in a playoff position, it’s on us to do whatever we can to try and help them. Now, that doesn’t always happen, but we feel like with [Andrew] Chafin and Starling today, we added two really solid players to this staff over the next two months.”
The A’s acquired reliever Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs on Monday. This was a bullpen piece they had been wanting and searching for since all the way back to April.
The Marlins will be covering the entirety of Marte’s remaining contract this season, a prorated amount of his $12,500,000 annual salary. Forst said Miami sent over “a significant amount of cash.”
Marte had been one of the main names on the trading block this year after slashing .306/.407/.453 with a .859 OPS. The A's probably were assured by seeing the 2016 All-Star has improved his discipline at the plate, with an 11.6 percent walk rate.
Forst, when asked about Luzardo, said it wasn’t necessarily about Luzardo not making the progress the A’s would have liked while with Triple-A Vegas, but more about how he wasn’t able to be consistent with the big-league club.
Ultimately, the A's knew they were trading a good player in Luzardo, but were happy with the return of Marte -- someone who is a better fit for helping them achieve their immediate goal of winning the World Series in 2021.
“When you are in a playoff race, everything we do is about the now,” Forst said. “I still think Jesús has a lot of good baseball ahead of him. He’s still 23-years-old, but ultimately we were focused on 2021, on this team and sometimes you have to give up good players, I think we know that.”
Marte will be a free agent after the 2021 season.
A’s manager Bob Melvin mirrored those statements about the team needing to concentrate on where they are at right now.
“Whenever we’re been in this position, our front office has been really proactive about going out and getting the right players for us,” Melvin said. “Not only does [Marte] give us a bat, but solid defense, but it’s also a dynamic athletically. His run dynamic, he steals bases, he does everything. This is a big-time player so this adds to our team right now for sure.”
Since Melvin was made aware of the trade minutes before he spoke to the media, he admitted he wasn’t able to detail where the rest of the outfield would play once Marte officially puts on the green and gold uniform. For now, Ramón Laureano is the team’s center fielder, but if he were to move to right, or left field, Melvin said he was open to that option.
“We’ll see where it goes,” Melvin said.
Marte will be joining the team on Wednesday in Los Angeles before the A's face the Angels for a four-game series, beginning Thursday. He will be available to play immediately, Forst said.
As for more A’s moves, Forst said the team plans on having ongoing conversations heading toward Friday’s trade deadline.
“I will say coming into this deadline, we were focused on a setup-type reliever and a starting position player,” Forst said. “We’re very with the happy two additions we made. We will continue to have conversations over the next 48 hours and there’s a chance, sure, we have flexibility to do more.”