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Pirates’ Marte confirms move to CF in 2017

It appears the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to have a new everyday centerfielder in 2017, and not because of an Andrew McCutchen trade.

Starling Marte said Saturday he’s going to be playing the position next season, according to MLB Dominicana.

Although Marte has played primarily in left field throughout his five-year career, he’s regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and by far the most versatile defender on the Pirates. Last year, the two-time Gold Glove winner had 19 defensive runs saved – fifth best in baseball. Additionally, Marte has an astonishing 73 defensive runs saved in his career, and has previous experience in center field, appearing in 79 games there.

McCutchen, a Gold Glove winner himself, said earlier in the offseason he preferred to remain in center field – the only position he’s known, starting 1,176 games there in his eight-year career. The 30-year-old is coming off a horrid season in the field in which he accounted for minus-28 defensive runs saved.

The long-time Pirates outfielder saw his name come up in trade rumors this offseason, as the Washington Nationals and Pirates were in rampant discussions. He also received trade interest from the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Seattle Mariners who reportedly asked about McCutchen’s availability in November.

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