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Mets need to talk to the Pirates about center fielder Starling Marte

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on August 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes the field against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on August 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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New York Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen needs to find a center fielder for his ball club. The perfect one plays for the Pittsburgh Pirates and his name is Starling Marte.

The New York Mets went through some odd adventures in 2019 on and off the field. Perhaps the only team in baseball with a crazier season were the Pittsburgh Pirates. The franchise seems to have entered a perpetual rebuild. The Mets need to take advantage of this and talk to them about center fielder Starling Marte.

In their quest to find a true center fielder, the Mets will need to look at trades. Free agency doesn’t offer anyone too intriguing. The few players who can play the position are either over-the-hill or weak hitters with declining gloves far too similar to Juan Lagares.

Marte is a little different. Even though he’s probably at the age (30) when his defense will get worse, he’s not a butcher in center field. He also happens to be a really good offensive player who set record highs in home runs and RBI in 2019.

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Brodie Van Wagenen cannot waste a moment and shouldn’t be shy about wasting all of his cell phone minutes. He needs to get on the phone with the Pirates and talk about Marte.

Marte checks all of the boxes for what I want from the next Mets center fielder. He has power, can hit for average, and can steal bases. In every season of his 8-year career except for 2012 when he played only 47 games, Marte has swiped at least 21 bases. His base-stealing prowess averages out to 41 per 162 games with only 13 times caught over that same span.

A former Gold Glove-winning left fielder, Marte had his first negative defensive WAR season in 2019. Regardless of this, he’s an improvement. That’s all we can ask for. Oh, and he also hits right-handed. I love this about him.

Marte is owed $11.5 million in 2020 and $12.5 million in 2021. This is an affordable contract with buyouts in each season as well. Although the Pirates are frugal, it’s not a total they absolutely need to move. However, if they don’t intend to content in 2020, they need to seriously consider it.

So, let’s say Marte is available. What do the Mets have to give up to land him?

My first instinct is to have Edwin Diaz travel to Pittsburgh in this deal. Considering Felipe Vazquez will probably never pitch in the major leagues ever again, the team will need a closer. My reservations for Pittsburgh having an interest in him is the fact that he’ll be arbitration-eligible beginning in 2020. Likely, the Pirates want players a little further away from free agency.

In which case, the Mets will probably need to unload a few pieces from the farm. I don’t think anyone on the MLB roster really fits the Pirates’ needs unless they’re planning on making a run in 2020. If that’s what they want to do, why trade Marte at all?

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There are plenty of additions the Mets could and should make this winter. Teams like the Pirates are the perfect ones to talk to when you’re trying to add talent they have. Marte seems too perfect for the Mets.

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