Pirates trade OF Starling Marte to Diamondbacks

By WILL GRAVES AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH (AP) — When the Arizona Diamondbacks landed ace Madison Bumgarner in free agency last month, the three-time World Series winner made a surprising offer, one that came with a very urgent catch.
Bumgarner told the Diamondbacks they could defer some of the money on his five-year deal if they promised to spend the up-front savings on making the club better in 2020. Arizona followed through Monday, acquiring two-time Gold Glove outfielder Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. "He fits a lot of what we're trying to do," Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen.

Though the Pirates have fallen well off the pace in the NL Central over the last four years, Marte has been one of the few bright spots. The 31-year-old hit .295 in 2019, setting career highs with 23 home runs and 82 RBIs. It wasn't nearly enough, however, to help Pittsburgh avoid finishing dead last in the division, a plummet that led to a massive leadership overhaul. New Pirates general manager Ben Cherington reached out to Hazen — the two previously worked together in Boston — shortly after taking over last October. Talks broke off over the holidays but picked back up this month, with Arizona receiving Marte as well as $1.5 million from the Pirates due on Sept. 15. In return, the Diamondbacks sent shortstop Liover Peguero and pitcher Brendan Malone — both 19-year-old prospects — to Pittsburgh. "It was painful giving up the players we did ultimately give up," Hazen said. "We just felt like we have a duty to both the present and the future and we felt like we were going to have to give something good up in order to get a good major league player."

The Diamondbacks selected Malone with the 33rd overall pick in the draft last season and signed him for a bonus of $2,202,200. The hard-throwing right-hander was considered one of the top prospects in the Arizona system. Malone went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven appearances in Class A. Peguero signed in August 2017 for $475,000 and hit .326 (74 for 227) with 11 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 38 RBIs in 60 games in the low minors last season. Both players figure to rank among the Pirates' top 10 prospects.