It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to start over from scratch and go into full rebuild mode. It’s also no secret that Starling Marte will be the biggest headliner for the Pirates in the trade. As a handful of teams have shown interest in Marte, the New York Mets are the newest team to reportedly show interest. What makes this newsworthy is the fact that several sources have reported that the Mets are also the frontrunners for Marte.
The Mets finished third in the NL East in 2019 with an 86-76 record. While that’s a respectable record, they’re going to have to step it up for the 2020 season. The division is going to be cutthroat this upcoming season. You have the defending world champions in the Nationals and the division winner in the Braves ahead of them. Don’t forget that the Phillies are making some moves this offseason. So improving the team in certain areas for the Mets is critical for Mets if they are going to compete with a tough division.
According to the current Mets depth chart, Brandon Nimmo will be the centerfielder with the team declining their option for Juan Lagares. However, Nimmo has been mentioned to be considered in the deal for Marte, but the Pirates are basically looking for near-ready prospects for their rebuilding plans. If Nimmo is not a part of the deal, Marte is still a huge upgrade at center. He can hit for average, has good speed, and also has decent power. Even with his defensive numbers taking a dive last season, Marte definitely has the edge offensively mainly due to his consistency. A .280 average and close to 20 homers a year are pretty much guaranteed.
Nimmo hasn’t been bad for the Mets, but his future is still uncertain. When compared to Marte, the former first-round pick falls short no matter how you look at it. Marte hits both righties and lefties better and can provide a spark. He’s more dangerous on the basepaths and is more of a threat to score.
The Mets have plenty of resources to go after Marte as well. It’s still unknown what the package would be, but it will most likely feature some significant prospects. The Pirates are sinking fast in the NL Central. With the Cubs, Reds, Brewers, and Cardinals building their teams to finish at the top, Pittsburgh is falling behind.