The Pirates have exercised their 2007 option on Damaso Marte for $3 million. I would have called this a terrible move six weeks ago, but with the outrageous contracts suddenly being handed out to mediocre players, this had to be done. So far this offseason, Justin Speier has been handed $18 million, Mike Stanton has signed for $5.5 million, and Jamie Walker has pulled in $12 million. Each of these pitchers are older than Marte and none were much better than he was in 2006. With a salary at only $3 million and an option for 2008 at the same price, Marte should have some solid value in the trade market. This also gives the Bucs even more bullpen depth if a team inquires about Grabow, Torres, or another reliever.
EDIT: This was as far as I got this afternoon while on my lunch break. I came home tonight to finish the post and found out that the Pirates have now extended Marte's contract an additional year. Marte is now signed through the 2008 season with an option for 2009. I am not sure what to make of this move, especially since the financial details have yet to be revealed. The Pirates should primarily be focused on trading Marte before the 2007 season, not tying up future payroll on this left-handed reliever. My hope is that Dave Littlefield has something up his sleeve, and that he didn't just give Marte a raise on the contract he already had. Maybe DL was able to lock him up for an extra season at little more than the initial $3 million per year in order to increase his trade value. Maybe Dave saw the extraordinary contracts that have been given to average relievers recently, and realized that a lefty with an ERA under 4 and a relatively cheap 2-year contract could possibly bring something in a trade. Maybe he even has had contact with another team and has something in the works that helped cause this extension.
But because of recent history, I am nervous about this move. I am worried that Mr. Littlefield has been ignoring the glaring holes that need filled at first base, third base, right field, starting pitcher, etc. and is trying to build a contender through the bullpen again. I hope I am wrong, and I am interested to see what develops of this situation.
EDIT#2: Rotoworld has the finances of this contract at $2.45 million in 2007, $2 million in 2008, and a club option at $6 million for 2009 with a $250,000 buyout. This still doesn't make much sense. I have no idea why Marte would take less money, as it is very unlikely he will ever see that $6 million in 2009. This is a good deal for the Pirates, as they now have less money tied up in Marte, plus his trade value rises with the even cheaper contract. I am tired now, and ready for bed. I am also confused, because in the past two days the Steelers have lost 27-0 and the Pirates have apparently made a good move. What is this world coming to??
Thanks to Bucs Dugout and WTM for links.