Yankees: What would it take to lure Starling Marte out of Miami?

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The New York Yankees could really use a center fielder. Ever since Aaron Hicks went down with a wrist injury, the position has been problematic for the Bombers, who have had to field Aaron Judge there because the best fit there, Brett Gardner, is slashing .206/.311/.316.

That is why the Yankees have been connected to the two Martes, Ketel and Starling, from the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Miami Marlins, respectively.

Marte, who is currently 32, will be a free agent after the season, and while he has voiced his interest to remain in Florida, the Marlins rarely commit to aging, pricey free agents. The team is still undecided about which path they will take this year, as they enter Wednesday in the last place of the NL East division.

What could the Yankees give to Miami?

If Miami decides to make Marte available, teams know he will be a rental. The Yankees could be very interested, but at what price?

Here is what the Miami Herald had to report on Wednesday (per NJ Advance Media):

“We’re told the Marlins would be comfortable with a two-year deal, perhaps for something in the $30 million range. But if Marte wants something in the range of three years and $40 million or four years and $50 million, the expectation is that the Marlins would walk away. … If the Marlins determine by July 30 that they won’t be able to agree on a new deal and if they’re not in realistic contention for a wild-card berth, they likely will explore trading their best hitter. Miami probably could command a front-line prospect in return.”

While the Yankees do have front-line prospects they could potentially offer, it’s doubtful they will do it for a rental.

Even if the Yankees do commit to Marte long-term, they would have questions, mostly surrounding his advanced age.

Marte is a two-time Gold Glove winner, hitting .321 this season with five home runs and 16 RBI this season.

Will the Yankees be willing to include a prospect such as Oswald Peraza, or Yohendrys Gomez, for Marte? Should they?

Yankees interested in Starling Marte (Report)

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Yankees “have checked in” with the Arizona Diamondbacks about outfielder Starling Marte.

The D-Backs acquired Marte, 31, from the Pittsburgh Pirates in January for top-30 prospects Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero. Across 118 at-bats this season, the outfielder sports a .322 batting average, an .853 OPS and a 131 OPS+ while totaling two home runs and 14 RBIs. For his career, Marte is hitting .288 with a .795 OPS and a 116 OPS+ while totaling 110 home runs and 434 RBIs.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal says the D-Backs are open to trading both Marte and reliever Archie Bradley.

The Yankees have several players on the injured list including outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Marte could theoretically be an everyday player for the foreseeable future in the Bronx. He has a team option for the 2021 Major League Baseball season ($12.5 million). Sherman notes that the Yankees don’t want to “add much, if any salary.”

The Yankees, 17-13, are in second place in the American League East, four games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. Their offense is fourth in MLB in slugging (.453), 17th in batting average (.246), 19th in runs (147) and 24th in hits (229). Infielders Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela and catcher Kyle Higashioka are nursing injuries.

MLB insider Robert Murray reported on Sunday that the Yankees are interested in Cleveland Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger; Murray adds that Cleveland is believed to want “four quality prospects.” Clevinger is under contract through 2022. Left-hander James Paxton is on the injured list with a Grade 1 flexor strain.

Around the diamond, opposing teams can request one or a combination of Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, and Mike Tauchman in a trade. On the hill, opposing teams can request one or a combination of Michael King, Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia in a trade.

The MLB trade deadline is Monday, August 31 at 4 p.m.

Should the New York Mets Trade for Starling Marte?

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The New York Mets have intensified their desire to acquire Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. This rekindling of trade talks likely comes in response to the Atlanta Braves signing Marcell Ozuna. The looming question hanging over the Mets is he worth the trade?

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The simple answer is no. The Mets should not avoid the trade because they do not need him, but because they should not dish out more than he is worth. Marte is heading into his age-31 season, and the defensive metrics do not favor him in center field. The trade would force the Mets to give up either J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and guarantee them moving Tomas Nido and a mid-level prospect.

Keep the Hand You Are Dealt

In 2019, Marte’s best slugging year only put him third among the Mets group of outfielders. He sits behind Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis and is only nine points better than Michael Conforto. Nimmo’s best year in 2018 was better than any slugging year Marte put together before his .503 in 2019.

The four main outfield options are all younger, cheaper, and better at the plate than Marte. Yes, Marte is the better base stealer, but he ranks dead last when comparing him to the 2019 Mets outfielders. Marte’s best walk rate season (6.1%) is still worse than Nimmo’s worst walk rate season (7.5%).

We omit the bat of Jake Marisnick because he will not be a consideration to start every day going into spring training.

Speed Does Not Equal Defense

Marte is faster than the two starting center field options of Conforto and Nimmo, but he is not better defensively. There was a time where that statement was completely false, but Marte’s defense fell off big time last season. Marte’s UZR dropped from 3.2 to -7.6 from 2018 to 2019. The drop is way too drastic for the Mets to take a risk to hope he is slightly better than Conforto and Nimmo.

Marte saw more time in center than both Mets center fielders. When both UZR’s are expanded to equal the same amount of time, Nimmo still projects to play better, and Conforto projects as a serviceable right fielder. The Mets will not be getting the gold glove caliber Marte, who is likely in a declining part of his career.

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If the Mets want to include Davis instead of Nimmo, then the Mets will put themselves in a high position to succeed. Despite likely being on a decline, his poor UZR will settle in the middle between 2018 and 2019. The key is keeping Nimmo and any high-level prospects out of the trade.

The Pirates are much like the Mets when it comes to horrible organizational management since the century turned. Both have their fair share of questionable moves, and this trade will come down to makes the trade out of confidence, not desperateness. Brodie Van Wagenen trades have come with more failure than success during his short tenure with the Mets. This final one could be what determines his fate under the ownership of Steve Cohen.

 

New York Mets Re-Sign Rene Rivera

The New York Mets catching depth behind Wilson Ramos was extremely thin heading into Spring Training, but the Mets have brought back veteran catcher Rene Rivera. He comes back to the Mets on a minor league deal for the second consecutive year, and he also receives an invite to Spring Training.

Rivera will make $1 million if he lands on the major league roster along with another $300,000 in possible incentives. The 36-year old veteran is your prototypical backup catcher, pop in his bat, and very strong defensively. He only played in nine big-league games during the 2019 season, hitting .235. Rivera’s minor league was fantastic, he hit 25 home runs and threw out 52 percent of base stealers.

Separate Plan in Place

Projected trade piece Tomas Nido is the current Mets backup catcher. His name has come up in trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Rivera would slot in place should the Mets acquire Marte. Discussions on Marte increased over the last week, and after the Atlanta Braves signed Marcel Ozuna, the Mets might look to equal the move.

Should Nido stay, both would compete for the backup catcher job. The Mets handed Nido the position last season, but he was not convincing as the man for the situation going forward. In 50 games, Nido only hit .191 and struggled to throw out any baserunners. The Mets will need some production from their backup, so Wilson Ramos can avoid playing in 140+ games in 2020.

New York Mets: Winter Meetings End With More Work to be Done

As the winter meetings come to a close, the New York Mets were in the middle of the pack when it came to making moves. The Yankees and Angels came out as big winners, while the Mets opted to add depth pieces. Now that we move towards 2020, what is next move for Brodie Van Wagenen?

The additions of Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello were low risk, high reward moves, but that has become the norm under Van Wagenen. Some have panned out, but they are still a couple of pieces away from becoming a top tier contender in the NL East. The moves to add starters have filled a part of their needs, but what else is left?

Who Else is There to Sign?

The most significant piece for the Mets to sign Dellin Betances to solidify their rotation. Should they sign him, the Mets have the potential to possess one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball. Of course, we are playing the hoping game but stick with it here. A bullpen of Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, Brad Brach, Justin Wilson, Robert Gsellman is loaded with potential.

We have to assume Diaz and Familia were no where near the pitchers they were last year and are due for a bounce-back in 2020. Plus, this is a bullpen that is without one of the six starting pitchers that will head to the pen.

The other need should still be an everyday center fielder. Jake Marisnick was assumed to be the every day center fielder, but he will be nothing more than a Juan Lagares replacement. His role should be to replace either Michael Conforto or Brandon Nimmo as a defensive replacement in center field.

Get Marte or Get More Pitching

Starling Marte should be the man they want to play center field everyday. The Mets have the pieces in place to make the trade, but should the Mets hesitate to pull the trigger; they should have another plan in place. If they unload Jed Lowrie’s contract, they should aim to bolster their pitching staff with major league ready arms. It does not matter whether they start or relieve; the options have to be available.

The Mets were relatively lucky with health in their pitching staff in 2019. They cannot depend on the same health and should plan for the worst. If the Mets can limit guys like Walker Lockett and Drew Gagnon from making 27 combined appearances and cut that number in half, it will put the team in a much better position to contend in 2020.

The New York Mets haven’t completely ruled out a trade for Starling Marte

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

It is no secret that Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting center fielder Starling Marte wants to be traded before the 2020 season. He recently said that he wants to play for a contender. Additionally, he also stated that he would be honored to play with the New York Mets.

The Mets proceeded to trade a couple of prospects for Jake Marisnick, a competent defensive center fielder. However, he is rather weak with the bat against righties, and his presence shouldn’t stop the team from pursuing Marte.

According to Jon Heyman, the Mets haven’t completely ruled out the acquisition of Marte, who is 31 years old.

Marisnick is only expected to make around $3 million via salary arbitration, and he is eligible to be traded at any time.

The New York Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates will talk at the Meetings

The Mets and the Pirates have several more days to sit down and talk about a potential deal involving the star center fielder. Heyman says that the teams will talk about the subject during the Winter Meetings.

Marte is Pittsburgh’s most valuable trading chip, and he is affordable, too. He will make $11.5 in 2020 with a 2021 club option for $12.5 million.

The Dominican had a bright 2019 at the dish, with a .295/.342/.503 slash line, 23 home runs, 25 steals, 97 runs, and 82 RBI. He accumulated 3.0 fWAR.

A spark for the lineup

While it’s true that the Mets could play Marisnich in center against lefties, and that other outfielders in the roster can play the position adequately, Marte would provide a spark near the top of the lineup.

His defensive play was weak in 2019 when he registered a -8.3 UZR/150 and -9 DRS in 1141.1 frames in center field. He was decent in 2018, however, with a 4.4 UZR/150 and +1 DRS. He is a two-time Gold Glove award winner in left.

The New York Mets may have competition, as other teams may be interested in trading for the All-Star outfielder. The Arizona Diamondbacks, for example, are shaping up as potential suitors.

Mets Interested in Trading for Starling Marte

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The Mets are looking to improve in CF and have interest in the biggest name on the market, Starling Marte.

According to Jon Heyman, the New York Mets have interest in trading for Pirates CFer Starling Marte.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. The Mets have been rumored to be looking for a CFer all offseason to this point. Many have connected the dots to Starling Marte who has been rumored to potentially be on the market.

The Pirates are a team entering a rebuilding phase. They just fired their President, GM, and manager. They are looking to completely reshape their team. Moves like those usually come with selling off older pieces who are nearing the end of their contracts. Marte fits that bill.

Marte is 31-years old, and is under contract for 2020 at just $11.5 mil and he has a team option for 2021 at just $12.5 mil.  That’s an excellent price for the final years of Marte’s prime.

Marte is an excellent player. Offensively he’s one of the best CFers in baseball. He put up a 119 wRC+ last season, which was the sixth-best of any CFer in MLB.

Defensively it’s a different story. Marte isn’t a poor defender in CF, but he isn’t good either. He was above average in CF in 2018, but saw a steep decline in 2019. He’s now a fringe-average defender at the position, and that’s more likely to get worse than better.

He would bring a speed dynamic that the Mets have lacked for years as well. He stole 25 bases in 2019 and 33 in 2018. The Mets have been desperate for speed on the bases for years.

The issue was Marte has never really been about the player. It’s always been about what the Mets would have to give up in a deal for him. The deal would likely have to be centered around JD Davis or Dom Smith for there to be a real chance to get a deal done.

If not the Mets are likely going to have to look to deal multiple top prospects to get a deal done. Former Mets GM Jim Duquette outlined what he would expect the deal to look like yesterday on SNY.

A reminder that Jim Duquette was very close to the value of what the Mets ended up giving up for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano last offseason. This would be a steep price to pay for Marte. Especially after dealing so many prospects for Marcus Stroman, Diaz, and Cano last season.