Marlins pick up Starling Marte from Diamondbacks as they aim for playoffs

PHOENIX -- The Miami Marlins acquired outfielder Starling Marte in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, giving the Marlins a versatile hitter and defender as they try to make a surprising push for the playoffs.

The Diamondbacks received pitchers Caleb Smith and Humberto Mejia and a player to be named later.

Marte, 31, played most of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he was an All-Star in 2016 and served an 80-game suspension in 2017 after testing positive for steroids. The two-time Gold Glove winner in left field was traded to the Diamondbacks this past offseason and batted .311 with two homers, eight doubles and five stolen bases while playing center for Arizona.

"We just get another solid, everyday bat," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Young players are going to have their growing pains. It's a challenge when you're trying to make it to the playoffs. We're adding a bat that can take some pressure off our young guys and provide support to our existing core players."

Marte has a $12.5 million option on his contract for next year.

He went through personal tragedy in May, when his wife, Noelia, died of a heart attack.

The Diamondbacks turned into sellers at the trade deadline after losing 10 of their past 11 games. They traded All-Star left-handed starter Robbie Ray to the Toronto Blue Jays and closer Archie Bradley to the Cincinnati Reds.

Arizona expected to be a contender in the National League West this season but currently sits in last place, with a 14-21 record.

"There are moments in time you can't go chasing something that isn't there," Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said. "For this season, it hasn't been there. I feel like pivoting at this moment in time is what's most appropriate."

The Marlins also traded infielder-outfielder Jonathan Villar to the Blue Jays for outfield prospect Griffin Conine, son of Jeff Conine, who played on the Marlins' 1993 expansion team and World Series championship teams in 1997 and 2003. Griffin Conine was a second-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2018.

Villar became more expendable when second baseman Isan Diaz, who opted out for the season, changed his mind and applied for reinstatement. Diaz is working himself into shape at the Marlins' complex in Jupiter, Florida.

The Marlins are in the running for a playoff spot in this year's expanded 16-team format. They had a COVID-19 outbreak early in the delayed season that kept them off the field for more than a week but have since bounced back. Their 15-15 record is good for second in the National League East.

"Our club has fought so hard for the first 30 games for what they endured," Hill said. "We want to do everything on our part to put us in a position to make it to the playoffs."

Smith, 29, has pitched just once this year, giving up one run in three innings on July 25. He was 10-11 with a 4.52 ERA in 28 starts in 2019. Mejia, 23, made his big league debut earlier this year and has a 5.40 ERA in three starts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.