The Pittsburgh Pirates biggest rumor this offseason had connected outfielder Starling Marte to the New York Mets. It seems like that will not be happening.
If there was one thing that was made relatively clear at the Winter Meetings, it was that the Pittsburgh Pirates would indeed listen on their veterans. The Winter Meetings were relatively quiet for Ben Cherington and the new regime. They used this time as a platform to get the rest of their staff together and to start building a foundation with other teams.
However, with as slow as the Winter Meetings were for the Bucs, Starling Marte’s name was one mentioned in trade rumors the most often, and Adam Frazier saw his name appear too. T he teams that were rumored to show interest in Marte at the meetings were the New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the San Diego Padres.
The most connected team of the three was the New York Mets. It was widely being talked about in New York by Mets writers and media members, and they continued to report that the two sides were engaged in discussions. However, no reports ever really surfaced that talks were progressing between the two sides.
Now it seems that a deal will likely not happen between the two sides. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Mets’ interest in Marte is fading. From Rosenthal’s note, the Mets may feel that they have a strong enough combination of outfielders that they do not need to make a prominent move in centerfield. Here is the full quote from The Athletic:
"“The Mets are making minimal progress on a trade for Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. Club officials are not especially motivated to trade for Marte, in part because new manager Carlos Beltrán believes his former Astros teammate Jake Marisnick will thrive with increased playing time.”"
There could be a couple of reasons for this. As Rosenthal stated, they already acquired Jake Marisnick to help man center and have a former first-round pick, Brandon Nimmo, as a capable outfield starter. Second, the Mets do not exactly have the best farm system to trade from.
They are missing the top-end, elite pitching talent and/or MLB close catching help that the Pirates are looking for in return for their star outfielder. The final reason could be tied to the second reason in that the Mets do not want to forfeit the few promising prospects they do have at the top of their system, especially after trading away Jarred Kelenic last offseason.
Whether the Mets are actually cooling on the idea of acquiring Starling Marte based on having outfield depth or if they simply are cooling because they cannot give up what it will take, it seems unlikely for a deal to happen. Either way, it is a good thing as the Bucs can likely get a better return from another team like the Diamondbacks or Padres. This whole report could be suggestive that talks are starting to progress with other teams and the Mets look like they are bowing out.