Pirates outfielder Jason Martin underwent surgery to address a left shoulder labral tear, Adam Berry of MLB.com was among those to report. Martin is likely in line for a four- to six-month recovery period, which could be cutting it close for the start of the 2020 season.
Next year will be the third in the Pittsburgh organization for Martin, whom the Pirates acquired from the Astros as part of the teams’ trade for right-hander Gerrit Cole in January 2018. As those who follow the game know, the Houston version of Cole has been a pitching demigod, someone who has a legitimate shot at a World Series title, AL Cy Young honors and a $200MM-plus payday in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, no one it received for Cole has come close to making a star-level impact. While righty Joe Musgrove has done respectable work from the Pirates’ rotation, third baseman Colin Moran has been merely a replacement-level performer, reliever Michael Feliz hasn’t developed into a late-game force and Martin has been almost nonexistent in the majors. An eighth-round pick of the Astros in 2013, Martin just wrapped up a difficult season divided between two levels. The 24-year-old hit .259/.312/.419 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases in 406 Triple-A plate appearances, leaving him with an 83 wRC+, and slashed .250/.325/.306 with a pair of steals in his first 40 PA in the bigs.
Despite his struggles in 2019, a healthy Martin could vie for a role next year in an outfield facing some uncertainty as the winter approaches. Rookie sensation Bryan Reynolds is sure to be back in 2020, while Gregory Polanco’s set to return after an injury-wrecked campaign. On the other hand, Starling Marte looks like a trade candidate and Melky Cabrera is on his way to free agency.