Brown: Trading For Marte Should Be No-Brainer For Mets

Jake Brown
November 29, 2019 - 10:51 am
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The Mets got their manager. They got their hitting coach. They got their bench coach. They got their pitching coach. 

Listen to your team news NOW.

It’s time to start working on the players on the field. 

This team has desperately needed a true center fielder that can play terrific defense and hit the ball. Juan Lagares was only able to play defense and could not hit. Brandon Nimmo was hurt for most of 2019 and is not a true center fielder … and he’s got an awful arm. Michael Conforto is much more of a fit in right field. The Mets will have options in left field with Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis. They also have Yoenis Cespedes coming back at some point during the 2020 season, barring a setback or another bizarre injury in the offseason. 

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen has not been shy dealing prospects for a piece. He did it for Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano. He did it before the trade deadline for Marcus Stroman. He’s got the perfect opportunity to make another move by making a trade for Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. 

It’s obvious that the Pirates are about to begin a rebuild after a nightmare 2019 season. Pirates GM Ben Cherington has a perfect piece in Marte to deal to get some good prospects and Marte clearly would have no problem leaving. 

“If it was for me I will leave for a team that is ready to compete right now on a World Series and that’s not our case,” Marte said in a conversation with Hector Gomez of Deportivo Z 101. 

Make. The. Move. 

Van Wagenen has made it clear the Mets want to win now. They fell just short of a Wild Card spot that came down to the final week of the season. Adding a piece like Marte would be the missing ingredient both in the lineup, and defensively. Marte is due to make $11.5 million in 2020 and has a club option of $12.5 million for 2021, which would likely be picked up.

That’s a bargain for the 31-year-old, who is a career .287 hitter. 

Marte is coming off a career-high year, belting 23 home runs and 82 RBIs. He won a Gold Glove in 2015 and 2016 and was an All Star in 2016. He’s also a threat on the base paths, stealing 25 bases last year, and he’s got 239 stolen bases in eight big-league seasons. (two seasons, he played just 47 and 77 games) There’s really nothing Marte cannot do. 

Sep 6, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Starling Marte (6) high-fives in the dugout after scoring a run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning at PNC Park
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

What would it take to get it done? Well, first off, Nimmo would become expendable. As tough as it would be to see him go, with how hard he plays and his charismatic attitude, there would not be much of a place for him. With Davis, McNeil and Cespedes in left and Conforto in right, Nimmo would not play every day. Including Nimmo could ease the level of prospects the Mets would have to give up as well. 

Someone like left-handed pitching prospect David Peterson would likely be someone the Pirates target. The Pirates also could use a catcher, so they will potentially target 18-year-old Francisco Alvarez. Shortstops Andres Gimenez and Ronny Mauricio would probably be on the Pirates radar as well. The Mets are set with Amed Rosario at shortstop, so there really isn’t room for one of those guys right now. They are stuck with Robinson Cano’s contract for four more years, so there really isn’t an opening at second base either. 

Some trio of Nimmo/Peterson/Alvarez/Gimenez/Mauricio should be enough to get it done. That would be the first piece of the puzzle to a successful offseason, before they focus on the bullpen and adding another starting pitcher. Van Wagenen needs to pull the trigger and give the Mets one of the better all-around center fielders in the game.

It’s your move, Brodie. 

Follow Jake on Twitter @JakeBrownRadio.