Yankees could pry veteran outfielder away from Mets

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves, yankees, starling marte
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches, the New York Yankees‘ need for outfield reinforcement is apparent. Injuries to key players Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader, have intensified the demand for a veteran with potential.

The Need for a New Outfielder

The Yankees’ outfield crisis stems from Aaron Judge’s possible absence for the remainder of the 2023 season and Harrison Bader’s injury list appearances. Acquiring a seasoned player with potential for improvement seems to be a sound strategy.

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The Prospect: Starling Marte

Among various options, one potential candidate stands out: Starling Marte from the New York Mets. A crosstown trade of this nature would be rare yet intriguing. Marte, at 34, is experiencing a relatively underwhelming season, providing an opportunity for the Yankees to buy low and bank on his bounce-back potential in the second half of the year.

Currently, Marte has a .258 batting average with a .313 OBP, alongside four homers, 24 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases. Despite an 87 wRC+ and 0.2 WAR, his performance could eclipse most of the Yankees’ outfielders, given his base-path prowess and a history of maintaining a sub-20% strikeout rate since 2014.

The Trade Scenario

Marte’s impending free agency in 2026 and his age would require the Yankees to absorb the rest of his contract, or at least a substantial part of it. As per The Athletic’s suggestion, the Yankees could offer their outfield prospect, Estevan Florial, who’s having a standout Triple-A season with a .288 batting average, a .379 OBP, 19 homers, 45 RBIs, and 13 stolen bases. Despite a 30% strikeout rate, he’s walking at a 13.4% rate and boasts a 136 wRC+.

“In return, the Mets could ask for center fielder Estevan Florial, who is having a breakout season at Triple A with 19 homers, 13 stolen bases and a 1.004 OPS. He still has swing-and-miss in his game (81 strikeouts in 265 plate appearances), but at 25, he should be entering his prime years and is about a decade younger than Marte. Of course, there are other Yankees minor leaguers who would fit in this type of deal. I’m simply using Florial as an example of a possible return.”

Potential Upside for the Yankees

If the Mets are open to accepting Florial in exchange for offloading Marte’s contract, it could be a win for the Yankees. The team urgently needs a positive influence who can bring athleticism to the bases and consistently reach base. Considering Marte’s performance last year — hitting .292 with a .347 OBP — this might be the opportune moment to acquire an underperforming player with evident potential.

While the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman could explore teams like the St. Louis Cardinals or Washington Nationals for high-potential players, given their reluctance to promote Florial, this deal could make perfect sense if executed well.

Although Cashman has been keen on trading Florial for some time without success, the Yankees do have a wealth of young prospects to leverage. These prospects will likely be future-blocked or eligible for the Rule 5 draft, increasing the chances of a successful deal.