The New York Mets‘ search for a center fielder appears to be far from over as Starling Marte’s name continues to surface.
According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the New York Mets are not out of the running for Pirates’ center fielder Starling Marte. Heyman states that the Pirates’ goal is to acquire a young controllable catcher in any Marte trade.
The Mets have a few young controllable catchers who could fit what the Pirates are looking for. Tomas Nido is controllable for the foreseeable future, but he has little trade value. His lack of offense and only decent framing numbers mean Nido is lucky to even be on an MLB roster, let alone a major piece in a trade for Starling Marte.
The Mets have two young catching prospects who could fit the mold.
Ali Sanchez is one of the Mets’ top 20 prospects. He reached AAA for the first time in 2019 and has an excellent defensive reputation. Some scouts say he’s the best defensive catcher in the Mets’ organization.
Sanchez’s issue is his bat. He’s never hit for much power and he’s not an OBP guy. However, his hit tool has gotten better every year. He could be a future .250 hitter who provides above-average to elite defense behind the plate. He’s certainly not an exciting prospect, but he should be a major league catcher.
The other prospect that fits the mold is Francisco Alvarez. Alvarez is one of the Mets’ top-five prospects. He’s already arguably one of the top 100 prospects in baseball and he hasn’t played a single inning of full-season ball.
His bat is impressive. He can hit for average and for power and dominated the lower-level leagues at just 17-years-old this season. His glove needs work, but it’s solid. Alvarez projects to fit the Mike Piazza role for a catcher, an offensive force who’s defense isn’t good but isn’t a liability.
There are very few players worth acquiring in exchange for Alvarez. There’s nothing more valuable in baseball right now than an elite catching prospect. There are only two elite catchers in all of baseball, and a chance at another one is rare. Alvarez has that kind of potential. If there’s any prospect in the Mets’ system, they should be hugging, it’s Alvarez.
Heyman did report that the Mets’ are meeting with the Pirates to discuss Marte. So, there must be some level of agreement for talks to be ongoing. However, this deal still doesn’t seem likely. Marte’s set to make $11.5 million in 2020, and the Mets still have pitching needs.
It’d be hard for the New York Mets to explain to the fanbase why they could afford Marte and Jake Marisnick, but not a starting pitcher.