Will Marte stay with Capps away?


CINCINNATI — Losing closer Matt Capps for more or less the rest of the season probably has general manager Neal Huntington mulling whether trading lefty reliever Damaso Marte would be a good idea.

Capps has bursitis and an internal rotation deficit in his right shoulder. No surgery is needed, but Capps is not expected back until the first week of September at the earliest.

Marte is coveted by several clubs and could bring a decent prospect or two in a trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline. The Pirates are not going to pick up Marte’s $6 million team option for 2009, so management isn’t including him in its long-term plans, anyway.

However, Marte has experience as a closer and is holding opponents to a .227 batting average. That’s hard to replace. Certainly, there is no one at Triple-A Indianapolis who seems able to fill that kind of a role.

Huntington could opt to keep Marte the rest of the season, then pay the $250,000 contract buyout. If Marte signs elsewhere as a free agent, the Pirates likely would get Type A compensation — two picks in the 2009 draft. If a prospect or two is all the Pirates would get in a trade, then keeping Marte for the rest of the year could be a prudent move.