On Monday, the New York Mets found out that they wouldn’t be able to acquire Starling Marte anymore. The outfielder had been an enticing trade target for the entire offseason. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to go another route instead of dealing him to Flushing.
The Bucs agreed to a trade sending Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a pair of teenagers: shortstop Liover Peguero and right-hander Brennan Malone.
While Marte would have meant an upgrade in center field, he didn’t represent a pressing need for the Mets.
The team has several outfielders in the roster. Granted, only two of them can play an adequate center field – Jake Marisnick and Brandon Nimmo, while Michael Conforto has done it in the past – but the acquisition cost for Marte would have hurt.
The Mets did well to stay put
Neither Peguero nor Malone are considered top-100 prospects, but they are two solid pieces with considerable upside that can be big league contributors in the future. While the Mets’ farm isn’t as drained and depressing as some may believe, those kind of players do not abound in the system.
It sure would have been nice to have Marte’s bat in the top of the lineup. He, after all, had a career-year in 2019. The speedy outfielder hit .295/.342/.503 with 23 home runs, 97 runs scored, 82 RBI and 25 steals. He had a 119 wRC+ and 3.0 fWAR. But was it worth giving up multiple young, controllable pieces in return?
Centering a deal for the 31-year old Marte around the 26-year old Brandon Nimmo wasn’t a very good idea. The reports don’t specify it, but it sounds like Nimmo was the Pirates’ primary ask for the star center fielder.
Nimmo is a career .254/.387/.440 hitter with a 130 wRC+. Marte’s career wRC+ is 116. Marisnick is the superior defender of the three, and while he isn’t a particularly good batter, he can at least hit lefties.
The New York Mets have the pieces to compete. Nimmo and Marisnick can share center while Michael Conforto handles right field and J.D. Davis and Yoenis Cespedes (if healthy) man left. They didn’t need Starling Marte.