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Diamondbacks acquire Starling Marte from Pirates

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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.

Tim Tebow homers in spring training game

Tim Tebow
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Mets minor league outfielder Tim Tebow hit a two-run home run during Tuesday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Tigers. It’s his first spring training home run since beginning his professional baseball career in late 2016.

Tebow, 32, is, of course, a former college football legend. He had a much-anticipated NFL career that ended up brief and disappointing, prompting a change of vocation. Tebow was passable with Double-A Binghamton in 2018, but the Mets promoted him to Triple-A for the 2019 season anyway. That was a mistake. Through 264 plate appearances, Tebow hit .163/.240/.255, ranking as the worst hitter in the minor leagues.

Tebow also walked along with the homer in three plate appearances on Tuesday. While it’s a solid early showing, Tebow participating with the other big leaguers or soon-to-be big leaguers in spring training is something of a sideshow. If he were a regular ballplayer working his way up the ranks, he likely would have been cut after last season. He certainly wouldn’t have been given an invitation to big league camp the next year.

There are aspects of the Tebow situation to respect: that he’s athletic and dedicated enough to attempt a professional career in another sport, for example. He moves tickets and merchandise. But one can’t help but wonder about the roster spot he’s holding that would otherwise go to a more deserving player.