Although, I am still not sold on Starling, (Part I) , Marte’s hitting ability, I do believe that the Pirates made a wise move in signing him, today, to a six-year, $31 million contract extension with an additional two option years.
I projected Marte to have a big drop in OPS this year, from last season’s .784 to .727, but, because of his excellent defense and above average baserunning, I also projected that he will produce 3.0 Wins Above Replacement level.
A consistent, yearly WAR of 3.3 would be worth more than $15 million per year on the current free agent market. So, even if Marte’s hitting goes in the tank, he will still be very likely to provide more value than it would cost to replace him.
Further, if Marte does continue to hit like he did last year, the arbitration process would take his value well-beyond the $5.2 million average that the Pirates will be paying him for the next six years.
Just don’t expect him to be the next Andrew McCutchen at the plate.