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First Pitch: The Latest Starling Marte Trade Rumors


The Starling Marte trade rumors have moved slow this offseason. Teams have been reported to be interested in Marte, with the most frequent team mentioned being the Mets.

Jon Heyman has an update today on the Marte talks, saying that nothing is close, but that the Mets and Pirates did exchange names on a proposed trade.

The interesting thing here is Heyman’s comment about how Brandon Nimmo came up, but the Pirates may prefer prospects.

A lot of the rumored talks between the Mets and Pirates have centered around a debate between Nimmo and Marte, and who is better. I’ve written about that before. Marte is perfect for a team trying to contend in 2020, because his production comes with fewer question marks. Nimmo has a chance to be more valuable, but comes with more risk due to his injury history and small sample of success in the majors.

All you need to know about the values of both players is that the Mets have Nimmo and are trying to trade for Marte. The problem is that their values are probably close enough that Nimmo would be the main return for Marte, which doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Pirates.

The only way this would make sense is if the Pirates were able to get a good prospect or two with Nimmo. Perhaps that’s possible by taking on some bad contracts from the Mets. It just seems less likely to happen with Nimmo taking up so much value in the deal.

The latest rumor from Heyman makes more sense from the Pirates’ side, as it fits their needs more. A Nimmo/Marte swap largely benefits the Mets right now. I’m not sure that there’s a realistic plus on the Nimmo side, or at least a plus that the Mets would pay in addition to Nimmo, that could change that view.

With other teams in on Marte, and with no rush to trade him, the Pirates definitely don’t need to be taking any deals unless they get what benefits them.




By John Dreker

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date.

Craig Reynolds, infielder for the 1975-76 Pirates. He was a first round draft pick of the Pirates in 1971, the 22nd overall pick. He hit .318 that first season the Gulf Coast League but struggled the following year in A-ball playing just 41 games, hitting .240 with no homers. Just one year later he earned a late season promotion to Triple-A after hitting .287 with 13 homers while playing for Salem of the Carolina League. By 1975 he was a full-time shortstop in Triple-A, hitting .308 through 108 games, when he earned a Major League call-up on August 1st. He played 31 games in Pittsburgh that first year, hitting .244 in 76 at-bats. He returned to Triple-A for 1976 and didn’t do as well, but still got a September, getting four plate appearances in seven games.. Following the season the Pirates traded Reynolds to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Grant Jackson. Reynolds played 15 seasons in the majors, hitting .256 over 1,491 games, twice making the All-Star team.

Bill Bishop, pitcher for Pittsburgh in 1886-87. He made his big league debut with the 1886 Alleghenys, pitching two games. He allowed seven runs in each game, but just six of those runs were earned. He pitched to a tie in his first game, which was called after nine innings due to darkness. The following season he pitched two games of a three-game series against Detroit early in the year and lost bad in each game. The Pirates didn’t use him again for three weeks. He lost 18-1 in his next start to an Indianapolis team that had a 37-89 record that year. That turned out to be his final game with the Alleghenys. He played only two more MLB games, both relief appearances for the 1889 Chicago White Stockings. His pro career ended in the minors in 1891. Until recent research confirmed otherwise, Bishop was thought to be five years younger, which at the time made him one of the youngest players in Major League history.

William “Ducky” Hemp, outfielder for the 1890 Alleghenys, a team that went 23-113. Hemp played one Major League game prior to joining the Alleghenys, an 1887 game for the Louisville Colonels. The game was a late season game and played in St Louis, which is where Ducky was from, so it is likely he was signed just for that day (signed is a technical term, since one-day players rarely signed contracts back then). He played the next two seasons in the minors, then made the Opening Day roster for the 1890 Alleghenys. He got into 21 games for Pittsburgh, hitting .235 with nine runs scored before being released in June. He moved on to the American Association to finish the season with Syracuse, then never played in the majors again, ending his pro career after the 1892 season.

Jim Dee, shortstop for the 1884 Alleghenys. He was just 19 years old when he made his big league debut on July 30, 1884 and his entire big league career lasted 18 days. Dee hit .125 in 12 games, going 5-for-40 with one walk. He failed to score a run during his career and all five hits were singles. He was a Pennsylvania native, who played for seven teams between the 1887-88 seasons, with six of them being teams in the Keystone State.

Jeff D’Amico, pitcher for the 2003 Pirates. D’Amico debuted in the majors at age 20 with the Milwaukee Brewers. That first season, he went 6-6, 5.44 in 17 starts. After showing some slight improvements the next year, he was injured for all of 1998 and most of the following season. D’Amico made an incredible return in 2000, finishing third in the league with a 2.66 ERA. That was the high point for the 1993 first round draft pick. He played four more years, for four different teams and never approached that one-year success. The Pirates signed him as a free agent in January of 2003 and he went 9-16, 4.77 in 29 starts, leading the league in losses. After the season, he left as a free agent, signing with the Cleveland Indians. D’Amico finished with a 45-52, 4.61 career record over eight seasons.

Jim Tobin, pitcher for the 1937-39 Pirates. He had been in the minors since 1932 and was a member of the Yankees organization when the Pirates purchased him at the start of the 1937 season. As a rookie that year he went 6-3, 3.00 in 20 games, eight of them starts, throwing a total of 87 innings. The following year he was put in the starting rotation where he went 14-12, 3.47, pitching a total of 241 innings. He was the team leader in wins and his 14 complete games also led the team. He struggled in 1939, posting a 9-9 record with a 4.52 ERA, making just 19 starts. Following the season he was traded to the Boston Bees for pitcher Johnny Lanning. Tobin finished his career with a 105-112 career record over nine seasons. After his MLB career was over, he returned to the minors for four more seasons. Tobin’s brother Jackie Tobin played for the Red Sox in 1945.

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Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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