The Arizona Diamondbacks — employer of All-Star Ketel Marte — acquired Starling Marte and cash considerations from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for infielder Liover Peguero and right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone. Making it a Marte par-tay in Phoenix.
Starling Marte is coming off a .295/.342/.503 season in which he hit 23 homers and stole 25 bases while manning center field for the Buccos. Center is where Ketel played most of last season, but with Starling on the roster, Ketel will likely move back to second base.
Heading back to Pittsburgh, prospects Liover Peguero and Brennan Malone, each of whom are generally considered to be top-10-ish prospects for Pittsburgh, but not likely top-5-ish. They’ll rank higher in the Pirates’ thinner farm system. Peguero is a shortstop who just turned 19 and hasn’t played above A-ball. Malone, also 19, is a righty pitcher who was the 33rd overall selection in last year’s draft.
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.