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Oakland Athletics get Starling Marte in trade with Marlins; Jesus Luzardo to Miami

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The Oakland Athletics, in a pitched battle for an American League wild-card berth, shored up a significant deficiency Wednesday and acquired center fielder Starling Marte from the Miami Marlins, the first major strike for a position player as Friday’s trade deadline closes in.

The A’s, who hold a one-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second AL wild card and trail the Houston Astros by six games in the AL West, claimed the best outfielder available in exchange for Jesus Luzardo, one of their top young pitchers who has struggled in 2021.

Marte, who turns 33 in October, and the Marlins were working toward a contract extension before he hit free agency after this season, but talks cooled after the Marlins reportedly only offered a three-year deal. He immediately brings a boost to an Oakland outfield in which its right fielders have combined for a .651 OPS, second-worst in the AL and 27th in the majors.

Starling Marte joined the Marlins in 2020.
Starling Marte joined the Marlins in 2020.

Marte will provide a huge boost – he brings an .859 OPS and 136 adjusted OPS to Oakland, while batting .306 with a .407 on-base percentage for the Marlins.

Now, Oakland will feature not only a better lineup but also shutdown defense in the outfield with two-time Gold Glove winner Marte working alongside gifted center fielder Ramon Laureano.

Luzardo, who turns 24 in September, was one of the A’s most prized pitching commodities after he was acquired in a deal for closer Sean Doolittle in 2017. He made a strong debut out of the bullpen in 2019 but has struggled with injury and inconsistency in the two years since. He has a 4.79 ERA in 109 big-league innings and has split time between the rotation, bullpen and at Class AAA Las Vegas in 2021.

It’s also a homecoming for Luzardo, who was drafted by Washington out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2016.

Marte is making $12.5 million this season in the final year of an eight-year, $53 million contract he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Marlins are sending along cash to offset some of the approximately $4 million remaining on his 2021 salary.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Starting Marte to Oakland Athletics in MLB trade with Miami Marlins