Mets: Does trading Brandon Nimmo for Starling Marte improve the team enough?
By Tim Boyle
Brandon Nimmo is someone the Pittsburgh Pirates may want from the New York Mets in a trade for Starling Marte. Would it even be a big enough upgrade for the Metropolitans?
The main buzz around the New York Mets this offseason has been the team’s interest in obtaining outfielder Starling Marte via trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nothing has come of it yet. Marte is one of the best players around currently sitting on the trade block wondering where he’ll open the 2020 season.
As with many trades, the debate for this one is what it will take to land Marte. In many cases, big leaguers such as J.D. Davis and Brandon Nimmo have been mentioned.
If Davis was the headliner heading to Pittsburgh, we can rationalize it pretty easily. Davis is a man with no clear position. By trading him, the Mets lose depth. They can begin the year with an outfield of Nimmo, Marte, and Michael Conforto. Yoenis Cespedes could also start, but let’s wait until he does more than take batting practice against a retired outfielder.
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Trading Nimmo as part of a package for Marte is a little more questionable. While Marte has proven himself more than Nimmo, we have wonder, does the trade actually make the Mets any better?
There are plenty of people out there who don’t care for Marte. Whether it’s his age, declining defensive skills, or his PED suspension in the recent past, there are reasons to prefer other men for the center field job.
Among those who want to see Brodie Van Wagenen stay away from Marte, there are some who think the Mets already have their 2020 starting center fielder on the roster. They would like to see Nimmo or Conforto play up the middle.
Both Mets outfielders have been below average defenders in center field when given the opportunity. It’s a tough position to play. Only a handful of men currently in the league are able to play the position at an elite level. Because Marte’s numbers suggest he’s not one of them, it feels as if there’s not much of an upgrade defensively.
In which case, we need to ask if the Mets are a better team on offense with Marte in the lineup as opposed to Nimmo.
Last year was a lost one for Nimmo and a career season for Marte. Nimmo also has only one year as an everyday player while Marte has been starting regularly for several seasons. The two are not comparable because a lot of it has to do with what Nimmo will or will not become. His 2018 performance grabbed the attention of many. Seeing that he’s capable of hitting for some power while owing a .400 OBP has fans excited for his future.
The trouble with this yet-to-be-done trade is it would take more than Nimmo to land Marte. Likely, a notable Mets prospect or two would head to the Pirates along with the happiest man in baseball. The same goes for a trade involving Davis, which I like even less but understand a whole lot more.
Preferably, if the Mets did trade for Marte, I wouldn’t want to see Nimmo go to the Pirates. Instead, if he does get traded, I would like him to land somewhere else in exchange for a relief pitcher. The upgrade from Nimmo to Marte is too minimal given the years of control, salary, and how much better the kid from Wyoming may be as soon as next year. For it to cost prospects too feels like a waste.
I do think there’s a strong possibility Marte begins the 2020 season with the Mets and Nimmo or Davis are wearing Pirates’ black and yellow. In either case, the Mets will have sacrificed a promising future for an addition at a position of need.
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As with any trade, the other moves the team makes will ultimately determine whether it was the right decision or not.