For the past few years, rival scouts have praised the Diamondbacks’ form system, for the organization’s position-player depth, and for the number of pitchers that have emerged with major league-caliber baggage.
The only knock has been one of pure bounce: Which of the position’s players, the appraisers have wondered, is the superstar around whom the Diamondbacks can build?
Whether or not that player exists in their system, the Diamondbacks believe they already have such a player on their major league roster – and they are indicating they are looking to build around him for the next half-decade. are planning.
Sources say Diamondbacks and second baseman Keitel Marte are in agreement on a five-year, $76 million extension, a deal that will begin next season and run through 2027. The contract includes a team option for 2028. The deal is scheduled for Monday pending a physical exam.
For Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen, this new deal represents the third bet he’s made on the future of the versatile, switch-hitter.
The first occurred in Hazen’s first major move as the team’s GM in November 2016, when he acquired Marte in a deal with the Seattle Mariners. That stake was relatively small; Marte was the second piece in the deal that also brought right-hander Taijuan Walker to Arizona.
This was followed by a contract extension given to Marte by Hazen in March 2018. Marte was largely unproven at the time, but the Diamondbacks nonetheless locked him in a five-year, $24 million deal that included club options for 2023 ($10 million). 2024 ($12 million). Those options will be replaced by a guaranteed number of years.
With that first expansion, Diamondback moved up a year earlier; They thought at the time that if he performed in the way they hoped he could exclude himself from their plans.
However, this deal is different. Marte made an overwhelming appearance in 2019, finishing fourth in the National League MVP voting. He fell short of the pandemic in the 2020 season, but he produced more or less at his previous levels last year.
Now the risk is low whether Marte will be able to do it, but whether he can do it again and again over the long haul.
Marte comes with the risk of injury. He suffered a back injury in 2019. He suffered a strain in both his left and right hamstrings last year. He has had only one perfectly healthy and productive season in his career.
His rescue could be another risk. Four years ago, Marte was seen by many as being able to play shortstop above average. Lately, his range has dropped wherever he has played, including at second base, where defensive metrics have not been generous to his work over the past two seasons.
But a lot can be forgiven defensively when a player can hit like Marte. Over the past three seasons, Marte has ranked 10th in the Ops-Plus with at least 1,000 plate appearances in the majors, according to Baseball-Reference. He is in the same category as Mookie Bates, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Alex Bregman.
Since 2019, Hazen hasn’t shied away from exaggeration when describing Marte. In the spring of 2020, he called Marte a “superstar”, a term he has used repeatedly over the years to come.
Despite the evaluators’ hesitation, there may be other players in Diamondback’s system who are capable of developing into superstars. Daulton Varsho had a power second half last year. Prospects Corbin Carroll and Jordan Lawler are talented but unproven.
Mart is different. He has done this before in the Major. The Diamondbacks are betting on that over and over again – and again and again.
After 2019, his first expansion was considered one of the most team-friendly deals among majors. If he can perform like that again, his New Deal could look like this.
Diamondbacks (SS) 5, Rockies 2
in the salt river fields
Rangers 13, Diamondbacks (SS) 0
at Surprise Stadium
in the plate: The Diamondbacks received run-scoring hits from C Carson Kelly (double), RF Alec Thomas (single) and SS Geraldo Perdomo (double) in a three-run rally in the second innings against the Rockies at Salt River Fields. In sixth, 1B Christian Walker joined the berm in the left-centre for a carefree homer, his first in the Cactus League. Walker scored 2 for 3, taking him 7 for 14 with two doubles, a homer and a walk. The surprise included little action at the plate on the Diamondbacks’ pitiful day. He was held for four hits and two walks. 1B Pavin Smith was dismissed for 1 run for 3 wickets.
on the mound: At Salt River, LHP Madison Bumgarner conceded two runs on two hits in 3 2/3 innings. The fourth saw all the damage on a massive homer by Rockies 1b CJ Cron, who came off a batsman after losing a fly ball in the sun on a double reigning play by LF David Peralta to LF Kris Bryant. “The command was really good,” said Bumgarner. “I thought it was a big step for a second start to spring. As long as that sticks and I can do that again, I’ll be pretty good at where we are.” Bumgarner’s velocity wasn’t as good as that. That was in his first outing, when he hit 93 mph several times, but it wasn’t too bad, mostly sitting in 91-92 mph. His hardest pitch was 92.6 mph. RHP Mark Mellancón scored two runs, struck a batsman and allowed a single in an unscored innings. LHP Oliver Perez made his Cactus League debut with a scoreless innings. In a surprise, LHP Tyler Gilbert scored 2 1/3 Allowed one run in innings, based on a strong performance in his spring debut last week. RHP Luis Fryce had a poor day, facing all four batsmen. Rangers scored in the eighth innings of seven. .
additional base: Perdomo made an impressive diving stop in the fourth inning off a hard-hit ball from Rockies 2B Brendan Rodgers, then assisted at first base by Walker, who pulled Perdomo’s throw out of the dirt. After his homer in the fourth, Krone was struck by a pitch by Melancon in the sixth. Cron, who was hit on the shoulder and ricocheted from his helmet, reacted angrily, throwing up his bat and staring in the direction of the Diamondbacks’ dugout.
Monday’s game: Diamondbacks RHP Corbin Martin vs Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw at 1:10 pm, Salt River Fields.