Before shipping him to the Diamondbacks, the Pirates discussed Starling Marte in trade talks with the Mets. But it now seems the New York organization lacked especially serious interest in the veteran center fielder.
According to a report from Andy Martino of SNY.tv, the Mets declined to pursue any of three possible trade structures proposed by the Bucs. That included separate “package” scenarios “centered around” either J.D. Davis or Brandon Nimmo as well as one based around multiple top prospects.
It’s not especially surprising to hear that the Mets were disinterested in skimming from the top of their prospect pool. The club has recently parted with some notable young talent — most notably, in this memorable swap. The ultimate deal that did take place featured two quality, but far-off prospects from a well-stocked Arizona farm that could more readily withstand the loss.
Perhaps it’s also understandable that the New York org was not inclined to move Nimmo. He has had a few ups and downs and missed a big chunk of 2019 due to injury. But he’s also a rare talent in the on-base department, delivers value on the bases, and can play all three outfield positions. Through over a thousand career plate appearances, Nimmo owns a sturdy .254/.387/.440 slash — good for a 130 wRC+ that tops the career mean of teammate Michael Conforto (125 wRC+).
The most interesting news here is that the Mets were not really willing to discuss Davis in order to reel in Marte. True, he’s just 26 and has yet to reach arbitration (though he likely will next year as a Super Two). And Davis turned in a hefty .307/.369/.527 batting line with 22 long balls over 453 plate appearances last year. He rode a .355 BABIP to get there, though that was driven by exceptional contact numbers.
Clearly, the Mets believe that Davis can keep banging. It’s hard not to like what he showed last year. And he was a consistent producer in the minors, though his earlier MLB action didn’t leave cause for optimism. There’s some risk that the offensive profile isn’t an especially sustainable one. Of perhaps greater concern is the fact that Davis isn’t much of a contributor in other areas. He graded as a very poor baserunner (-2.8 BsR). While Davis is capable of lining up at the infield or outfield corners, metrics have generally panned his glovework.
It’s always hard to part with affordable, controllable players that have produced at the MLB level. In that regard, it’s hard to fault the Mets. But this is a season in which the team needs to win, and the roster would be in much better alignment with a true center fielder and one less corner piece. Whether there’s any realistic possibility of landing a new option in center isn’t clear. But there are likely still trade scenarios afoot involving some of the Mets’ corner players. More so than Nimmo or Davis, it’s still tough to know just what the team will do with Dominic Smith if he remains on hand.