When the New York Mets’ universe woke up on Friday, it did so with the news that talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates for center fielder Starling Marte were “intensifying” and that a deal could be struck before spring training.
That, according to GM Brodie Van Wagenen, is apparently no longer the case now. The executive put water to the rumors. It is evident that negotiations with the Pirates are not going anywhere despite constant communications.
“We don’t want to disrupt what we have, the chemistry that I spoke of. We have a culture where people buy into one another and they believe they can pick each other up. I don’t see a deal that’s going to disrupt that environment. If there’s an opportunity to continue to improve our roster, we’ll explore it, but our aggressiveness right now is focused on getting ready for Spring Training with the players we have,” he said on Friday.
Marte, 31, is a talented outfielder, and there is no doubt about that. The Mets want to upgrade in center field and he is coming from a strong 2019, in which he hit .295/.342/.503 with 23 home runs, 97 runs scored, 82 runs batted in and 25 steals.
Defensive metrics say that his 2019 in center wasn’t very good, but he has played the position adequately in the past. He is a two-time Gold Glover in left, as well.
Marte is also relatively cheap. The Pirates will pay him $11.5 million in 2020 and he has a club option for $12.5 million in 2021.
The Mets will likely stay put
However, the New York Mets don’t seem to have the ammo needed to pull off a trade. They don’t want to trade Brandon Nimmo and they don’t have a lot of top prospects.
“At this point, we feel very confident in the group we have,” Van Wagenen said. “We’re excited about the guys we’ve invited to camp. We’re excited about the returning players that we’ll have back on the roster and we think we’ve added some key pieces from the outside that will help us this year.”