Days before Thanksgiving, the latest New York Mets trade rumors have focused on the team’s interest in Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte.
Starling Marte is one of the best outfielders thought to be available this winter via trade. As a center fielder with power, speed, and a right-handed bat, he’s one of the ideal choices for the New York Mets to consider. Recent Mets trade rumors from Jon Heyman of MLB Network have reported Brodie Van Wagenen’s interest in the 31-year-old outfielder.
In early October, I wrote about what a good fit Marte would be for the Mets. The same is true in late November as his name is beginning to appear in Mets trade rumors. I don’t just like him because we share a birthday just one year apart. He is one of the most talented center fielders around but also nearing an inevitable decline.
Through Twitter, I’ve seen how these Mets trade rumors have already divided baseball fans. A good majority of Mets fans have admitted he’s a good target, but not worth nearly the price former general manager Jim Duquette would pay to acquire him.
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Meanwhile, fans in Pittsburgh have gone full “homer” on him and slightly exaggerated his achievements. I get it. You would think Dominic Smith was a deity if you spoke to some Mets fans and what they believe the club could get in return in a trade for him.
No doubt a talented outfielder, is Marte really worth selling the farm to acquire?
Marte has two years of control left on an affordable contract. However, the Mets have a lot already invested in this team and adding his $11.5 million for 2020 and $12.5 million for 2021 will push them closer to the luxury tax. In doing so, the team would have fewer options when it comes to the more important task of building the bullpen.
At this point in Marte’s career, he’s looking more like a corner outfielder than an everyday center fielder. The Mets don’t need this transition to occur while under their control. If they’re going to spend prospects and dollars on a new outfielder, it must be on a player who has years left at their greatest position of need, center field.
Thus far, Marte has yet to show signs of slowing down even with his 30th birthday well enough in the past. He hit .295/.342/.503 for a pathetic Pirates team last season and knocked a career-high 23 home runs.
Then again, who didn’t swat a career-best home run total in 2019?
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This winter’s Mets trade rumors have been limited. With the Pirates now under control of a new general manager, this is one of those whispers we can expect to stick around until one of the two teams does something about it.