Bob Smizik: Report says Marte agrees to six-year deal

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There is nothing not to like about the contract the Pirates and outfielder Starling Marte reportedly have agreed to sign.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the deal is worth $31 million and is for six years.

This is risk and reward on both sides.

For the Pirates, the risk is if Marte does not develop into the kind of player most believe he will. The reward is that is Marte does fulfill his potential, but the end of the contract he will be significantly underpaid.

For Marte, the risk is that he, as Andrew McCutchen has done, will outstrip the terms of his contract and be receiving less than he should at the end of it. The reward is that he is financially set for life. All of the $31 million is guaranteed.

It was a no-brainer on both sides.

For the Pirates it another step in telling their fans they will attempt to keep their core players. Few, if any teams, are able to keep them all and the Pirates certainly will have hard decision down the road on players like Pedro Alvarez and Gerrit Cole.

In his first full season last year, Marte batted .280 with a .774 OPS. He has been batting leadoff for the Pirates but figures to be more of a middle-of-the-lineup batter as his career progress. He is an exceptional fielder with a strong arm. He also projects as the kind of player who can hit 20 home runs and steal more than 50 bases. He stole 41 last year.

The contract buys out all of Marte’s arbitration years and one year of free agency. He had been eligible for free agency after the 2018 season. This contract will push that back to 2019.

Specific terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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