Pirates make Starling Marte extension official

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates' extension with Starling Marte is a done deal. Most important, we now know its structure:

$2 million signing bonus
2014: $500,000
2015: $1 million
2016: $3 million
2017: $5 million
2018: $7.5 million
2019: $10 million
2020 option: Up to $12.5 million with escalators
2021 option: Up to $13.5 million with escalators

There's also a $2 million buyout, although as far as I know, it's not yet clear how that will work.

You can see what a great deal this is. Essentially, the Pirates bought out Marte through free-agent eligibility for five years and $18 million, then added $10 million for his age-30 season (a bargain if he continues to be productive) and tacked on the chance to take on two more late-prime years, with a $2 million buyout as the only downside.

Last year I suggested a deal could be similar to Denard Span's five-year, $16.5 million extension, but a little bigger. As it turned out, Marte got almost twice as much guaranteed money, but that's misleading, because his contract is a year longer, and any year tacked onto the end will be more expensive than any of the others.

Through his first five seasons, Marte gets only $18 million, not much more than Span, even though Marte's extension comes after the Braves' context-altering extension bonanza and Marte's power potential would have made him a good bet to out-earn Span in arbitration anyway.

Then there are the options. In 2020, $12.5 million will probably seem like nothing. Even if the Bucs pick up both options, it appears they'll only pay $56 million total. The Pirates are getting Marte all the way through his prime years for a very modest cost. This is an excellent deal.

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