Player: Starling Marte – Outfield, 32 years old
Contract: Four years / $78 million
Past Career/Last Year Highlights:
- 2016 NL All-Star Selection
- 2x Gold Glove Winner
- 2021 MLB Stolen Base Leader
- Hit .310 in 2021, staying above .300 with the Marlins and the Athletics
Mets Recent History: 77-85 in 2021, 3rd place in NL East
Last winning season: 2019 (86-76)
The Mets had an outfield problem. With Michael Conforto in right, a very fragile Brandon Nimmo in center, and a left-field carousel of warm bodies with gloves, as the Mets cobbled together an outfield. It wasn’t pretty. What once held the promise of being a stellar outfield of Cespedes, Nimmo, and Conforto quickly shifted to McNeil, Almora Jr, and Johneshwy Fargas. With Cespedes ghosting the team in 2020 and Conforto declining his qualifying offer this offseason, the Mets had the chance to rebuild, and they did just that.
Signing Mark Canha solidified left field and signaled an end to the Dom Smith/Jeff McNeill experiment. Canha’s a solid left fielder who brings a solid bat and decent speed to Queens. But his arrival didn’t signal a solution to the Mets issues. If Conforto signs elsewhere, the Mets still had a hole in right field.
Well, not if they sign a centerfielder.
Starling Marte has been one of the premier outfielders in the majors for the last half-decade. However, you might not have known it, considering who Marte played for previously. Being stuck on the Pirates, Diamondbacks and Marlins can slow other players down, but not Marte. In his career, Marte has only hit below .280 in two seasons, and in 2021 he finished with a .310 average. But his best asset in the last season was his ability to steal bases with ease. While leading the entire league with 47 stolen bases, Marte’s true mastery shines through his caught stealing numbers, as he was only caught five times.
And while Marte has split time evenly throughout his career in center and left, there’s no denying he has all the tools to hold down center for the Mets. And now the Mets outfield has solidified, and despite all the odds, they’ve been able to upgrade in two significant ways.
Now the only downside to this deal is the length. The Mets have locked up Marte for his mid-30s, which could see his speed and ability to play centerfield diminish over time. This is still a bit of a long-term gamble for the Metropolitans, but after years of gambles like Jason Vargas and Robinson Cano, this one feels smaller.
Turf Analysis – Grade = B-
- / 1 year ago
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