Report: Mets land free agent CF Starling Marte on a four-year, $78 million deal
Starling Marte was the best free agent center fielder on the market
The Mets capped a huge Black Friday in free agency by landing the best center fielder available, inking CF Starling Marte to a four-year, $78 million contract late Friday evening.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network was first to report the two sides were in agreement.
Marte, 33, began his season with the Marlins before he was moved to the A’s ahead of the trade deadline in July. Marte posted a combined 4.7 bWAR while slashing a .310/.383/.458 line between the two clubs with a 132 OPS+ overall. He also led the league with 47 stolen bases in 52 attempts, 25 of which came after the trade to Oakland.
A two-time gold glove winner, Marte is a ten-year veteran having spent most of the first part of his career with the Pirates. He has produced an above average OPS+ in nine of the ten seasons while swiping 296 bases over the course of his career with a 77.9% success rate. He is also a quality baserunner, producing 43.5 FanGraphs BsR over the course of his career and 12.3 BsR in 2021. Marte is primarily a centerfielder at this point in his career although he had -4 DRS at that position in 2021, creating a question of whether or not he can remain in centerfield on a regular basis over the next few years.
Marte did serve an 80-game PED suspension in 2017.
With Marte and Mark Canha in the fold, that could afford the opportunity to shift Brandon Nimmo to a corner outfield (right field?) spot occasionally or entirely, which could in-turn enhance Nimmo’s own value and potentially keep him healthier and fresher. This also means the Mets suddenly have a large surplus of outfielders with Canha, Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, JD Davis all capable of playing at least one of the corner outfield positions. This could also result in the Mets trading from this surplus to fill other needs.
Marte and Canha’s arrival will also likely eliminate any chance of Michael Conforto returning to the Mets.
All told, between Canha, Marte and Eduardo Escobar, the Mets added $30.5 million to the 2022 payroll on Friday, brining it to around $165 million before adding anyone else or signing their existing arbitration eligible or pre-arbitration eligible players.