The chances of the Mets ending the winter with a big shot have been slim in the past few weeks, and they may have disappeared entirely through the Monday trade that sent Starling Marte from the pirates to the Diamondbacks.
Marte was heavily on the Mets' radar at the winter gatherings, but discussions with the pirates had dissolved in the past few weeks. In December, the teams discussed a deal that Brandon Nimmo would probably have belonged to.
The Mets withdrew from sources at the time because they didn't think they would get the same value for Nimmo, a first-year referee player who will earn $ 2.18 million this season. 31-year-old Marte will earn $ 11.5 million this season. His contract also includes a $ 12.5 million club option for 2021.
The pirates received two prospects from the Diamondbacks for Marte and $ 250,000 in international signing bonus money. The Mets targeted Marte as someone who will force a right-handed bat into the midfield equation. Marte, who won the Pirates in 2015 and 16 Gold Gloves, scored an OPS of 0.845 last season.
So the Mets seem to be on their way to spring training with an outfield that includes Nimmo, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis, Jake Marisnick, Dominic Smith, and possibly Yoenis Cespedes.
Marisnick came to a deal with Houston as a right-handed and strong defensive player, which the Mets officials believe will be an upgrade for Juan Lagares. It is likely that Marisnick will have a chance to play against most left starters and serve as a defensive replacement for late innings.
The wild card is Cespedes, who missed the past 1½ seasons when he was recovering from double heel surgery and multiple ankle fractures that he deprived a wild boar at his ranch. Cespedes trained, trained and ran in Port St. Lucie, but it is not clear to what extent he will be ready to start spring training. Davis and Smith are the other options in the left panel. Both had breakout seasons for the Mets in 2019, but appear to have relegated in part-time roles as Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil have anchored the corner positions in the field.
In a relatively calm winter, the Mets added Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Dellin Betances by free choice to strengthen the starting rotation and the bullpen. Porcello and Wacha could fight for a place in the rotation, although it is also possible that Steven Matz will have to win a start job in spring training.
Betances, who barely played with the Yankees last season due to shoulder problems and a torn Achilles, may have had the newcomers' greatest win. The right-hander scored 2.70 ERA in 66 appearances for the Yankees last season.
Eduardo Nunez received a minor league contract from the Mets and, according to the industry, will have the chance to complete the club in spring training. Nunez had an OPS of 0.548 in 60 games for the Red Sox last season.