Talk of the Mets and Pirates interest the past day or two about Starling Marte has picked up some steam. Nearly all suggested trade scenarios benefit the Mets greatly, not so much for the Pirates.
Marte’s value is rather high, especially with the small market on quality center fielders. A consistent 3+ fWAR guy with defense that will likely rebound to at least not bad and a 20/20 offensive profile. This is hard to match in the current market.
What can the Mets offer that we would want? The simple answer is not as much as other teams can reasonably offer. Going for mostly near ready quantity rather than quality with the Mets is probably the only real option for near term readiness.
There is quite a bit of talk of Brandon Nimmo. In his lone full season he did pretty great. His over all defense isn’t all that good but has done better in the corner. In this lone season he posted a 4.5 fWAR almost exclusively do to his offense.
But how good is his offense? The big thing with Brandon is his OBP which is driven by two things. His Walk rate is fairly high and he has a very high BABIP. His SLG is pretty good how ever his home run potential isn’t really there but his legs do get him around to third more often than most. Being a lefty in PNC it might help his numbers a bit.
In my opinion, Nimmo is just not a headliner for three major reasons. First and for most, he has trouble staying healthy. His batting average took a huge dive last season when he did play. This has some thinking he may end up a ‘bust’ if he can’t stay on the field. The biggest reason is he only has three years of control. It seems outlandish to trade a consistent player with two years of control for a player who has three years of control and has an a injury history. Make no mistake, Trading Marte for Nimmo as a headline is mostly a salary dump.
Probably the most desirable player that has been in the MLB is Dominic Smith. Even more so if Josh Bell is traded or drop Bell back into the outfield if he is not traded. Smith is not an outfielder. With no outfield range putting him out there would be a disaster. Instead like Bell he more profiles as a DH, but his first base defense should be an upgrade over Bell. His offensive profile is a tad under Bells, he won’t get many doubles but the home run power will play well. Add in his long term control, very desirable. In my opinion Smith should be insisted on.
Given the Pirates core, getting a farther out prospect like catcher Francisco Alverez would also be a mistake. By the time he would reach the majors the Pirates core would be walking out the door. Leading us back here in this cycle that hasn’t been working. I’d like him don’t get me wrong but probably not the wisest choice if you have any hope of competing before 2024. That said if he is available, snap him up but value him lower than what he probably would normally be.
The rest of the Mets top prospects fall in a similar boat so we’d have to go farther down the line in quality. Left handed pitchers David Peterson and Kevin Smith both profile to be possible back end starters that may be able come out of spring in 2021. Catcher Patrick Mazeika and outfielder Desmond Lindsay. Both of these position players will probably be lucky to be bench bats but with some positive development have a chance to start. All of these are fair options to put on the table that will likely be options for the MLB roster sooner than later.
Given the much lower pedigree on most of these options, there would need to be more in the trade. If there is a trade with the Mets my demands would be all of them. Dominic Smith, Peterson, Kevin Smith, Mazeikia and Lindsay.
I would settle for Dominic Smith, Peterson OR Kevin Smith and Mazeikia. So one MLB player that will probably stick, One LHP Prospect, that might be a back end rotation type and a catcher that is likely just a depth piece.
On top of that I’d want cash, pick an amount and/or a player to be named later. Really doesn’t have to be a lot, just some. Basically to help in signing a catcher like Jason Castro to a longish term deal so that the Pirates will be mostly ready out of the gate in 2021.
If there ends up being a bidding war for Marte at the meetings. The Mets are a long shot. With the Cubs having better controlled MLB players that could have the Pirates competing in 2020. Also the Padres who just have better quality prospects. Both could easily out bid the Mets though with the Cubs the Pirates would likely need to take on some of Marte’s salary or a higher priced player to offset the salary some.
But then again, the Pirates are currently mostly ready now by signing someone like Castro and filling out the coaching staff.