Whether one of the team’s best players will ever wear them seems to be in serious question.
“If we think about building a team that has a chance to play meaningful games in September and October, has a chance to sustain winning, we need more players with more collective upside,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said Friday. “We’re excited about the players that we have, we’re excited about working with our current players to tap into their upside. But we need more of them.
“Those can come from any direction. It can come from our current minor league players getting better, it can come through the draft, through international scouting. It can also come through trade. Any opportunity we’d look at, whether it involves a current Major League player or anyone, would be looked at through that lease. We need to add to our talent base.
“Some of that will involved a chance to get the kinds of players that really drive winning and have enough of them. Some of that will involve, at some point, taking some chances and making some bets on guys that are less proven but may have more upside, even if there is some risk involved.”
Heyman reports that the Mets and Padres are the frontrunners for Marte at this point.
Cherington was asked if he anticipates the club making a ‘major’ deal before Spring Training begins in less than three weeks.
“I don’t know, define ‘major?’,” he responded. “We’re focused on opportunities in free agency that, whether it’s Major League or minor league, we think either fit a need or present an opportunity to make help make the Pirates better.”
Cherington did not want to label the significance of moves as they pertain to public opinion, but added that the team is “definitely engaged on a number of things.”
The team’s new manager, Derek Shelton, is anticipating having Marte around, at least until he isn’t.
“The way I’m planning right now, for our season, is for the guys that are on our 40-man roster and we’ve invited to Spring Training, we’re going to plan on putting them in," he said. "If that changes over the course of the next month, the next four months, whatever, we’ll adjust and go off that.”