This time of year, you start hearing more and more rumblings across the league. We’ll undoubtedly get our fair share of Chicago Cubs rumors – but for now, a recent report out of Miami regarding the Marlins and veteran outfielder Starling Marte has our attention.
To this point, there have been no long-term discussions between Marte and the Derek Jeter and Kim Ng-led ball club. Since that report surfaced, Marte made it clear that he wants to spent the rest of his career with the Fish – but a player’s desire to stay hardly means he won’t be on the block this summer.
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Marte, the former Pirates star, is in the final year of his contract and could be one of the most valuable rentals available ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. On the year, he’s hitting .337/.439/.547 – and if the Marlins do shop him, he looks like he could be one of the hottest commodities for contenders looking for an upgrade in the outfield.
For the Chicago Cubs, the most glaring need is starting pitching. But the outfield, not counting Kris Bryant, has been pretty terrible this season, as well. Injuries have had a major impact on several key guys and the numbers for the team’s outfielders aren’t great, to say the least.
- Ian Happ: 89 wRC+
- Jason Heyward: 58 wRC+
- Joc Pederson: 101 wRC+
To be fair, Jake Marisnick has picked up right where he left off before an injury ended his 2020 season, but he’s been limited to just 29 games this year. Right now, at least in my mind, he’s a fourth outfielder and an off-the-bench guy – strictly out of an interest of keeping him healthy for the rest of the year.
Chicago Cubs haven’t gotten much in terms of outfield production
Happ hasn’t ever really fulfilled the hype and hope we once had for him. Despite being a defensively versatile switch-hitter, the former first-rounder has really struggled this year. After turning in a breakout showing in 2020, the outfielder hasn’t gotten the job done this season.
For years, people have been willing to look past any shortcomings with Heyward’s bat given his elite status with the glove. But he’s trending in the wrong direction defensively and, one year after being a leader for the team at the dish, he looks lost.
Marte could step in and immediately team up with Kris Bryant to give the Cubs one of the best combos in all of baseball. Sure, the price wouldn’t be cheap exactly, but as a rental, it’s not like you’re breaking the bank here, either. There’s no long-term risk or cost associated with such a move and if you’re serious about making one last run, adding one of the best players in the league is how you do it.