The hot stove is heating up!
— MLB (@MLB) July 28, 2021
With the MLB trade deadline coming up on Friday, this was one of the first major dominoes to fall.
The move has a lot of intrigue for both sides, and it’s very tough to tell which club got the better return at this point in time.
Let’s break it down.
Looking At Marte’s Fit In Oakland
Starling Marte is going to provide a massive upgrade for the Athletics over their current outfield situation.
Stephen Piscotty is the player who is likely going to see the biggest decrease in playing time as a result of the deal.
In 64 games this season, Piscotty has had a really rough go.
First off, he has a -0.8 WAR.
He has been brutal defensively, thus the awful WAR.
At the plate, he hasn’t been much better.
The 30-year-old is batting just .207 with a .613 OPS and 72 OPS+ on the year.
He is reaching base at a mere .266 clip, and it’s hard to justify keeping that sort of production in the lineup.
Now that Marte is in the mix, Piscotty will be less of a factor.
Marte is having one of the best offensive seasons of his career.
He is slashing .306/.407/.453, giving him an OPS of .859 and an OPS+ of 136.
He isn’t a huge threat to hit for power, but he is a threat to run.
He has stolen 22 bags this season, and when you couple that with his ability to reach base, he becomes an elite top-of-the-lineup option.
Marte is only under contract for the rest of this season, so the Athletics are hoping that their investment in him pays off.
Looking At Luzardo’s Fit In Miami
The Marlins were smart to trade away Marte with his contract expiring, and they got a great return in Luzardo.
Marlins got a premium young talent in Luzardo for Marte, not easy in this environment. Adds to their stockpile of pitchers with great stuff.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 28, 2021
Luzardo isn’t exactly a prospect anymore, but when he was in the minors, he was widely regarded as one of the best prospects in baseball.
At the MLB level, he hasn’t exactly found his footing yet, but he has shown signs of potential.
As a reliever, he posted a 1.50 ERA over a small six-appearance sample size in 2019.
Then, in 2020, he saw time as both a reliever and a starter, and he pitched to a solid 4.12 ERA, 4.19 FIP and 1.27 WHIP across 12 outings (59 innings).
That was a very encouraging campaign for the youngster.
Unfortunately, Luzardo has had a rough 2021 season.
He has pitched to a 6.87 ERA, 6.07 FIP and 1.63 WHIP over 38 combined innings as a reliever and starter.
Lately, things have been even worse, as he has allowed runs in five consecutive relief appearances.
The lefty has an exceptionally high ceiling (as we saw in 2019 and 2020), but he evidently will need to iron out some things before he will be able to excel in the Majors.
Regardless, with Luzardo under contract through the 2025 season, Miami should be thrilled with its return on a rental deal.
The Verdict: Too Soon To Call
It’s too soon to make a decision on which team won this trade.
Right now, it looks like the Marlins may have gotten the better end of it, but what if Oakland goes on to win its first title since 1989?
In that case, the deal would obviously become a massive win for the Athletics.
Oakland was willing to pay a hefty price for Marte, so the organization must have high hopes for his impact this season.
Luzardo, on the other hand, will look to become a key piece in Miami’s rebuild.
This trade will be worth revisiting in several years.