Pirates pick up contract option for Starling Marte, Chris Archer
The Pittsburgh Pirates committed $20.5 million in salary Monday for center fielder Starling Marte and starting pitcher Chris Archer, picking up the contractual options on the team’s most expensive players.
Marte will be paid $11.5 million and Archer $9 million in 2020, according to spotrac.com.
The moves were not surprising, especially in regards to Marte, who produced the best season of his eight-year major-league career. While limited by injuries to 132 games, Marte, 31, hit .295, second only to his .311 batting average in 2016. He also had career highs in home runs (23) and RBIs (82).
“Starling is an All-Star caliber center fielder who impacts the game in all phases,” interim general manager Kevan Graves said in a statement. Graves has been running the team’s baseball operations since Neal Huntington was fired last week. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to bring him back in 2020 following his excellent 2019 season.”
Archer has struggled on the mound since he was acquired at the 2018 trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Rays. In 33 starts in two seasons for the Pirates, he is 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Also limited by injuries, Archer, 31, did not pitch beyond Aug. 20 this season.
With Jameson Taillon recovering from the second Tommy John surgery of his career, the Pirates do not have much depth among their starting pitchers.
Archer finished last season with a 5.19 ERA after it had climbed as high as 5.85 in mid-June.
“We are encouraged about the progression Chris made in the second half of last season and look forward to him being a part of our rotation in 2020,” Graves said.
In addition, the Pirates reinstated several players from the 60-day injured list, including Archer, Taillon and pitchers Edgar Santana, Nick Burdi, Kyle Crick and Chad Kuhl. Also, right fielder Gregory Polanco and minor-league outfielder Jason Martin were re-instated from the injured list.
Pitchers James Marvel, Alex McRae, Yefry Ramirez and Wei-Chung Wang were outrighted off the roster.
With 39 players, the Pirates have room for one more player on the 40-man roster.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .