The Marlins have shown interest in the Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. There isn’t any indication that a deal was close prior to the lockout, and it remains to be seen if Arizona would be even open to moving Marte at all.
As Rosenthal plainly puts it, the D’backs “would need a monster package to move Marte.” The former All-Star is entering his age-29 season and is controlled through the next three seasons — an $8MM salary in 2022, and then club options for both 2023 and 204 that would pay Marte a total of $22MM if both options were exercised.
Marte broke out with a huge 2019 season that saw him finish fourth in NL MVP voting. After a disappointing 2020 campaign, Marte rebounded to hit .318/.377/.532 with 14 home runs last season, though he was limited to only 90 games due to a pair of hamstring injuries. In both 2019 and 2021, Marte has enjoyed large BABIPs and wOBA totals that have outpaced his xwOBA, so there is some question about just how sustainable his elite production is, plus his speed and baserunning skills have been in decline. Still, Marte makes a lot of hard contact and rarely strikes out, and it is possible he could use a change of scenery given the Diamondbacks’ dismal results over the last two seasons.
Between Marte’s age, ability, and his very reasonable contract, Rosenthal points out that the D’backs would want more for Marte than they received in either the Paul Goldschmidt or Zack Greinke trades. To put it in perspective, Arizona received two MLB-ready younger players (Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly), one notable prospect (Andrew Young, who has since made his big league debut) and a Competitive Balance Round draft pick from the Cardinals for Goldschmidt back in the 2018-19 offseason. For dealing Greinke to the Astros at the 2019 trade deadline, the D’Backs got four prospects in return.
Miami could be a team well-suited to meet the Diamondbacks’ high asking price, given how the Marlins have been open to trading from their surplus of starting pitchers. The Fish have lots of young pitching depth in the minors and even some names from their current big league staff could be available, with Elieser Hernandez and Pablo Lopez considered to be available. (Sandy Alcantara can be safely removed from the list of trade candidates considering his recent five-year extension.)
The Marlins would presumably deploy Marte in center field, with Jesus Sanchez and the newly-acquired Avisail Garcia flanking Marte in the corners. However, defensive metrics are mixed at best (-8 Outs Above Average and -12 Defensive Runs Saved, but a +2.3 UZR/150) on Marte’s glovework as an outfielder, and while his numbers as a second baseman are similarly unspectacular, Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen indicated that Arizona would likely keep Marte as something close to a full-time second baseman in 2022. Playing the infield could help keep Marte healthier, but the Marlins might also view Marte’s outfield defense as improvable if he is focused on playing only center field, whereas the D’Backs moved Marte around between center, second base, and shortstop.
In other trade talks between the two sides, Rosenthal writes that the Marlins also checked on Kelly’s availability. Presumably, Kelly is no longer on Miami’s radar now that the Marlins have acquired Jacob Stallings to fill their catching vacancy.