Clearly, the New York Mets had a plan to sign a certain trio of position players all at the same time, with center fielder Starling Marte overnight capping off the Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Marte set.
Center fielder Starling Marte and the New York Mets are in agreement on a four-year, $78 million contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.
The Mets’ big day just got a whole lot bigger as they get the best CF on the market.
First with the news was @JonHeyman.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 27, 2021
Marte, 33, is coming off the best year of his career, when he hit .310/.383/.458 (134 wRC+), while still playing solid center field defense, and was worth 5.5 WAR. He was the best pure center fielder on an otherwise very thin market there, so there’s no question that he makes the Mets better in 2022.
On the whole, though, the additions register as surprising. Together, the three players signed make up an AAV of about $43 million over the next two years, when they will each be 33 years old. There’s nothing at all wrong with bringing in that group at that age at that price tag, but it certainly does make it seem like the Mets intend, specifically, to ball out in 2022, with little regard for how these deals look in 2023 (and beyond, for Marte). Given that Jacob deGrom, also 33, can opt out after 2022, this may very well be the right approach. It’s just bolder than we’re used to seeing.
Now the Mets will have to add to the rotation, significantly, if they want to make the short-term position player additions worth it. Stay tuned on that front, and it’s where the Cubs and Mets could come into conflict in free agency.
Meanwhile, adding yet another position player to the Mets makes me think they are definitely moving on from Michael Conforto, and they are also likely to shop guys like J.D. Davis and/or Jeff McNeil and/or Dom Smith. I’m not sure there are fits there for the Cubs, unless they think Davis can handle third base or want McNeil at third base or want to park Smith at DH as a buy-low, bat-only option.
Now we find out if the position player market is going wild, or if this was limited to the Mets. Busy weekend on tap, I suspect.