Marlins get Luzardo from A's for Marte

July 29th, 2021

After weeks of gathering information on various clubs in regards to the market, trade talks began to heat up over the past four days between Marlins general manager Kim Ng and A's GM David Forst. Those calls culminated on Wednesday when Miami acquired hometown kid from Oakland in exchange for center fielder Starling Marte. The Marlins will pay the majority of Marte’s remaining $4.5 million salary, a source told's Mark Feinsand.

The 23-year-old Luzardo, who attended Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is a former top prospect with a 4.79 ERA in 31 Major League games (15 starts) from 2019-21. A high-upside arm under club control through 2025, he last pitched on Sunday for Triple-A Las Vegas. After six starts to open the season in the Majors (5.79 ERA), Luzardo went on the injured list with a hairline fracture in his left pinkie. Upon his activation, he made seven relief appearances, giving up 11 runs (six homers) in 10 innings, then was optioned to the Minors.

Ng said it has not been decided whether Luzardo will join the rotation immediately, but a decision will come in the next several days.

"He's got a great arm," Ng said. "Last year he was the A's No. 1 prospect on top of many of their prospect lists. He's 23 years old, he's got a great arm, he's got very good secondary stuff between the slider and the changeup. We just felt he was a great fit. We value pitching quite a bit, and we just feel like he fits right into our group."

Marlins get: LHP Jesús Luzardo
A's get: OF Starling Marte, cash considerations

Luzardo will join an already deep organization when it comes to pitching. With that stockpile of arms, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Marlins focus on adding at least one MLB-ready bat -- if possible -- before Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Though they rank fifth in ERA (3.53), they are 27th in runs scored (398). It doesn’t help that several of their top hitting prospects have struggled in the Minors in 2021.

The club also is receiving interest in outfielder Adam Duvall (2022 mutual option) and first baseman Jesús Aguilar (one year of arbitration eligibility left), among others. Miami also dealt closer Yimi García (pending free agent) to Houston for Minor League outfielder Bryan De La Cruz and reliever Austin Pruitt on Wednesday.

Marte, 32, was another one of Miami's veterans with an expiring contract. The Marlins originally acquired him from the D-backs at last year's Deadline, and they went on to reach the postseason for the first time since 2003. At the time of that deal, then-president of baseball operations Michael Hill said the ballclub had every intention of picking up Marte's $12.5 million option, and it did.

Marte hit a go-ahead homer in his Marlins debut, but he later fractured his left hand on a hit-by-pitch during the National League Wild Card Series against the Cubs. Marte, who spent time on the injured list earlier this season with a left rib fracture, is slashing .306/.407/.453 with an .859 OPS in 63 games.

"Star last year, the acquisition, the timing of it, we felt like he was a big part of pushing us forward and giving us that boost to be able to make a playoff run," manager Don Mattingly said. "Obviously just continues on this year, and [he's] a guy that our players respect. I think he's respected throughout the game, the way he handles himself and the way he goes about his business, so he's been a total positive for us as an organization."

Earlier in July, both Marte and the Marlins expressed interest in keeping him in Miami for the foreseeable future, but the club fell in the standings and the 10-year veteran reportedly didn’t want extension talk to be a distraction. When asked whether the organization might leave the door open to bringing Marte back, Ng said "Absolutely. A player of that caliber, we always have to be very open-minded, and especially knowing him and what he brings to the table every single day, our doors and our ears are open, certainly."

With Marte gone, internal center-field options on the 40-man roster include Magneuris Sierra, who started Wednesday against the Orioles, Lewis Brinson and Monte Harrison. Ng also mentioned No. 11 prospect Peyton Burdick, who is patrolling center for Double-A Pensacola.

Is the long-term solution already in the organization? Or will it look externally? What is the message to the fan base when a player like Marte is sent away?

"In terms of next year, I think there's still moves that we would like to make, and so I would just say to [the fans] that this is not a finished group for next year," Ng said. "These are some of the first steps that we've got to take, and we've got to add to our arsenal, and these guys are definitely a part of it."