Starling Marte shines brightly in Pirates camp

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Pirates prospect Starling Marte homered in a second straight game Thursday against the Pirates, though he did make an out in his other at-bat, lowering his spring average to .692.

The 23-year-old Marte busted out from a power standpoint last season in Double-A. His OBPs were nice in previous stops too, but he went from going homerless in 222 at-bats in the Florida State League in 2010 to hitting 12 last year. Overall, he batted .332/.370/.500 in 536 at-bats.

A first-rate defensive center fielder, Marte might be ready to jump to the majors now, though the Pirates have already shut down those kind of thoughts, saying he will open the season in Triple-A. Once he does break in, it will probably be as a left fielder. Marte is likely superior to Andrew McCutchen in center, but McCutchen is pretty good himself and the Pirates won’t move their centerpiece to a corner so quickly after signing him to a six-year deal. A Marte-McCutchen-Jose Tabata outfield might be as good defensively as any in the majors.

Blue Jays to announce that John Gibbons will not return as manager

John Gibbons
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Sportsnet reports that the Blue Jays will announce today that manager John Gibbons will not return for the 2019 season.

This is not a huge secret, as Ken Rosenthal reported that the team will not be asking Gibbons to return over a month ago. Today, however, it will become official.

Gibbons, who is still under contract through the end of next season and who is subject to a team option for 2020, is in his second stint as the Jays’ manager. His first term went from 2004 through the middle of the 2008 season. He was rehired before the 2013 season. At the moment Toronto holds a 71-87 record, which puts them a whopping 35 and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

The club is poised for a rebuild. And, they have decided, they will do it without John Gibbons at the helm.