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Phillies Rumors: Starling Marte’s market is ‘very hot’


Starling Marte is a free agent. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

If the Philadelphia Phillies hope to land the top center fielder available on the free agent market, they may have to pounce in the coming days.

Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports reports that the market for Starling Marte is “very hot,” adding that he could land a multi-year deal this month, before the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec 1.

Heyman says that the Phillies are joined by the Houston Astros, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins and “many others” in pursuit of the 33-year-old outfielder.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today adds that the defending American League Champion Houston Astros — who re-signed two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander Wednesday — are being “ultra-aggressive” in their courting of Marte.

While Marte’s age could be a bit off-putting to some, he’s coming off of the best offensive seasons of his career, as he slashed .310/.383/.458 with 47 stolen bases in a season split between the Marlins and Oakland Athletics. At a position with so few needle movers, it wouldn’t be surprising if Marte landed a deal that guaranteed him four seasons.

The Phillies are perhaps as good a fit for Marte as any team. Odúbel Herrera elected free agency after being outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this month, and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski cast doubt on the idea that former first-round picks Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley could fill the role to open 2022.

Because Marte was traded during the 2021 season, the Phillies would not have to surrender any draft compensation to sign Marte, who wasn’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the A’s.

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