keyboard_arrow_uptop

Starling Marte is suspended. From baseball. For 80 games. He did the steroids.

If you own Marte in redraft leagues, this is extremely bad. Odds are he was your second- or third-round pick. At best, he’ll probably end up playing in about 60 games this season. And you can’t even stash him on the DL. You are, to use an industry term, screwed.

If you own Marte in dynasty leagues, well, it’s pretty bad, but most of you already know what to do. If you were rebuilding, whatevs. You won’t miss Marte’s production in the grand scheme of things. If you’re on the fringes of contention it stings quite a bit, but you understand that Marte’s long-term value outweighs the short-term loss. You’re left to try and recoup some value in other ways, or you’re sliding a lot closer to “rebuilding” than you hoped you’d have to.

But what if this was your all-in year? What if you own Marte, were relying on him as a key contributor, and are now watching years of planning go down the drain? Should you trade Marte for an older player who’s available now? And if you’re on the other side of the equation and you see that a contender has Marte, should you make an offer?

Let’s stop asking rhetorical questions, reverse-engineer this, and start from the point of view of the would-be Marte acquirer.

Marte is, to use another industry term, extremely good, and you should be interested in acquiring his services. He finished as the 25th-best player in fantasy last season, per ESPN’s Player Rater, and he did so while playing in only 129 games.

From 2013-2016, Marte hit .292/.349/.448 with an average of 13 homers, 37 steals, 78 runs and 54 RBI a season. That makes him an easy OF1, and considering he won’t turn 29 until October, we have no reason to think he’ll slow down anytime soon. That’s a big part of the reason why, per FantasyPros ADP, Marte was the no. 7 outfielder heading into 2017, trailing Trea Turner and Charlie Blackmon but ahead of a whole lot of studs.

So from my perspective, if you want Marte in a dynasty league, you can offer his current owner one of three types of packages:

  1. A one-for-one swap (or near enough as to not matter) of a player who’s nearly as good/young as Marte for Marte
  2. A package that tries to mitigate the loss of Marte’s speed
  3. An $0.80-on-the-dollar mishmosh package

There are too many variants of No. 3 to discuss here, so let’s just focus on the first two.

A ONE-FOR-ONE-ish SWAP

Per FantasyPros ADP, here are the 13 outfielders taken after Marte, and here’s how I think a one-to-one offer for Marte ranks according to my proprietary Ben Carsley Fair Test System.

ADP

Outfielder

Age

Fair Offer?

7/25

Starling Marte

28

N/A

8/34

George Springer

28

Too rich

9/36

Nelson Cruz

37

Yes +

10/37

Ryan Braun

34

Yes +

11/38

Giancarlo Stanton

28

Might be too rich

12/39

A.J. Pollock

30

Yes

13/45

Yoenis Cespedes

32

Yes

14/46

Carlos Gonzalez

32

Yes

15/53

Wil Myers

27

Might be too rich

16/54

Christian Yelich

26

Too rich

17/56

Andrew McCutchen

31

Not enough

18/59

Gregory Polanco

26

Might be too rich

19/66

Billy Hamilton

27

Yes

Based on Marte’s suspension and their relative ages, there’s a good argument to be made to prefer Springer, Stanton, Myers, Yelich and Polanco to Marte at this point, though I’m shaky on Myers and Polanco. McCutchen is a bit of an outlier in this group, too; his value is substantially below Marte’s, even with the missed time.

But in Pollock, Cespedes, Gonzalez and Hamilton, we have four players who I think make prime trade targets for Marte owners, or for players trying to trade for Marte. Cruz and Braun are a little too old to be one-for-one options, but they’re not so far off that a prospect or decent MLBer can’t make up the gap.

There’s another tier below these guys that consists of J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, Adam Eaton and Jackie Bradley Jr. that you could cook with, too. There are options, is what I’m saying.

What about players who might be one-for-one-ish swap candidates, but who don’t play in the outfield? Here are a few candidates I see using the eyeball test:

ADP

Player/Position

Age

Fair Offer?

25

Starling Marte, OF

28

N/A

28

Robinson Cano, 2B

34

Yes +

30

Jonathan Villar, INF

25

Yes

31

Daniel Murphy, 2B/3B

32

Yes

32

Brian Dozier, 2B

29

Yes +

47

Kyle Seager, 3B

29

Yes

58

Dee Gordon, 2B

29

Yes +

So what about that last group: guys who can’t replace Marte overall, but who can at least mitigate his loss when it comes to speed?

Well, only 10 players not named Starling Marte stole more than 25 bases last season, and only seven more even eclipsed the 20-steal mark. Five of those players were named Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, Bryce Harper and Jose Altuve, so the pickings are a bit slim. But still, if you have one of these players, you might be able to dangle them as part of a package to land Marte:

SB

Player/Position

Age

Fair Offer?

47

Starling Marte, OF

28

N/A

40

Eduardo Nunez, 3B

29

No

33

Jean Segura, SS

27

Yes +

28

Wil Myers, 1B

26

Might be too rich

27

Melvin Upton Jr., OF

32

Not on a team, so …

25

Odubel Herrera, OF

25

Yes +

24

Leonys Martin, OF

29

Not on a team, so …

24

Elvis Andrus, SS

28

Yes + a lot

22

Jose Ramirez, 2B/3B

24

Yes +

21

Ian Desmond, OF

31

Yes +

20

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF

33

No

A fairly small subset of players, to be sure, but another batch you can reasonably start a Marte offer with. Plus, add in guys like Jose Peraza, Tim Anderson and Manny Margot who didn’t get 30-plus steals a year ago, but who might in 2017.

The point of this admittedly slightly meandering post? Don’t be afraid to make an offer for Starling Marte in dynasty leagues. He’s good, he’s young and he’ll be back before you know it. Just know that you’re going to have to give up some substantial value, too. Personally, I’d try the “replace the SBs and add a sweetener” approach first, but if I was rebuilding and could trade an OF2 for Marte, I’d feel good about that too.

If you have Marte and are going for it this year, just make sure you don’t sell him for less than $0.90 on the dollar. You can ask for a top prospect or a decent second piece if an opponent offers you an OF 2/3, and you can ask for all that and more if someone offers you a pure speed replacement.

If you have Marte and aren’t going for it this year? Relax. Open a beer. Look up Austin Meadows stats. And enjoy finishing in 16th instead of in 15th.