Yes, the New York Mets are reportedly interested in bringing Starling Marte to play center field. However, it is not imperative that they upgrade the position.
A trade is growing increasingly unlikely, anyway, since the San Diego Padres also want the Pittsburgh Pirates’ outfielder. Also, while the Mets were initially considering the inclusion of Brandon Nimmo in a potential deal, now they are “disinclined” to do so.
The Mets recently acquired Jake Marisnick (86 wRC+), a slick-fielding center fielder with a suspect bat against righties, but a passable one versus lefties. Nimmo (114 wRC+) is also capable of playing the position, although he is best suited in a corner.
The battle for playing time in the Mets‘ outfield
While those two split center field duties, the Mets can’t afford to take Michael Conforto’s bat (126 wRC) from the lineup. He will be starting most nights, as will Nimmo.
The Mets have two other very capable outfielders with the bat. One of them is J.D. Davis, who broke out last season (136 wRC+), and the other is Dominic Smith, who (guess what?) also had a breakthrough year in 2019, with a 133 wRC+.
There is a logjam in the outfield as things stand today. Davis can play third base, but that’s where Jeff McNeil (a Mets-leading 143 wRC+) plays. Smith is a first baseman by trade, but the team has someone named Pete Alonso there.
The Mets could potentially explore a trade for a star reliever or a young catcher with Davis and Smith as bait.
The wild card
The wild card here is Yoenis Cespedes. The 34-year-old outfielder is currently rehabbing from surgery on both of his heels in 2018 and several fractures in his right ankle in May, when he fell into a hole on his ranch. The Mets restructured Cespedes deal and will save, according to reports, nearly $10 million.
It is unclear if Cespedes will play in 2020, but he is trending in the right direction. He is already taking batting practice and he recently began a running program.
He will have to prove he is healthy when the time is due, whether it is in Spring Training, or minor league games. But one thing is certain: the New York Mets could use his potent bat.
When healthy, Cespedes is one of the most feared sluggers in the game, with consistent 30-homer power. He would fit in nicely in the middle of any lineup.
If Cespedes plays at any point of 2020, the Mets‘ outfield depth chart would have him plus Conforto, Nimmo, Marisnick, Davis, and Smith. Something would have to give, but the Mets will worry about it when they absolutely have to. For now, the extra depth is nice, and they still have time to pursue a trade.