The New York Mets signed Starling Marte last offseason to what has thus far been a nice addition to the ball club. However, there was one thing missing from his list of accomplishments.
Marte ended up only appearing in 5 innings in two games for the Mets as their center fielder. Brandon Nimmo’s success the year prior showcased that maybe he was the better option at the position.
As it turned out, the Mets weren’t willing to move Marte to center field very often. In fact, Mark Canha would end up with the second-most games at the position with 11.
The Mets will not replace Brandon Nimmo with Starling Marte in center field unless they have to
There is one scenario where maybe Marte does move back to center field. If Nimmo walks, they may not have much of a choice.
The market for center field free agents is Nimmo and then everyone else. As always, this comes with a reminder that Aaron Judge can play the position but he’s more of a right fielder.
Penciling Marte in as a starting center fielder next year goes against the way he was handled in 2022. There were minimal opportunities when the Mets may have started him at the position yet decided to go in a different direction. A year older in 2023 and with average-at-best metrics as a right fielder, there’s no cause to move him to the position we once believed he could play regularly for the Mets in 2022.
How letting Brandon Nimmo leave could be disastrous to the Mets
The only real bind the Mets will find themselves in is if Nimmo leaves. A good defender and also a producer at the plate, it’s hard to let him walk and find anyone who comes close. Marte isn’t a solution for more than only a couple of games as needed.
We could see them find a Travis Jankowski-type player to fill in on the roster. However, the organization has missed on a lot of those choices over the years. They’re just not talented enough to play a whole lot of innings even if their defensive reputation is a positive one.
The Mets could use some changes to their outfield but that won’t include moving Marte to center field. The dream of signing Aaron Judge would certainly make that a bit better. The far more likely ending: the Mets better themselves offensively at the DH spot.