Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that the Pirates have been thus far unsuccessful in signing outfielder Starling Marte to a multi-year contract extension. According to reports, Marte turned down at least two offers. The two sides remain open to negotiations, however.
GM Neal Huntington explained the benefit of locking up players early:
“The (advantage) is the same as any multiyear extension,” Huntington said. “You’ve got a chance to set your costs, and it can help you build around that player who you think is going to be an integral part of your future. Because of the enormous risk that you’re taking, you’re looking to save a few dollars, either on the front side in the arbitration years or on the backside in free agent years.
“The player’s risk is he outperforms the contract. If he does that, he’s got a huge free-agent contract staring him in the face. The (possible) downside if he turns it down is he never gets another offer, so he never gets that money back.”
Marte, 25, still has two seasons to go until he is eligible for arbitration and will not hit free agency until after the 2018 season. In his first full year in the big leagues in 2013, Marte slashed .280/.343/.441 with 41 stolen bases. Along with above-average defense in the outfield, Marte ranked among the most valuable outfielders in baseball last season.