SAN DIEGO — As Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and his front office departed the winter meetings Thursday, they were not close to acquiring Pirates centerfielder Starling Marte — and might never be, a source said.
Marte is the trade target perhaps most often linked to the Mets in recent weeks, but their outfield needs lessened last week when they acquired Jake Marisnick from Houston. That deal, Van Wagenen said, “puts us in a position of strength as we explore other things.”
One reason the Mets’ Marte talks aren’t too serious: They don’t view Marte, an above-average hitter and defender, as a major upgrade on the Brandon Nimmo/Marisnick combination — especially considering the cost of acquiring Marte, plus his salary. He will make $11.5 million in 2020, more than twice as much as Nimmo and Marisnick combined.
Nimmo is penciled in as getting near-everyday at-bats in centerfield and left, with Marisnick also slated to play plenty, especially against lefthanded pitchers and late in games as a defensive replacement.
Further, the Mets are disinclined to trade Nimmo in that or any other trade. Multiple reports this week said the Mets were willing to move Nimmo, who has been a well-above-average hitter the past two years, posting a .250/.395/.459 slash line, but they didn’t appear to be too interested in that idea as the winter meetings goings-on concluded.
COO Jeff Wilpon did not attend the winter meetings because of a previous commitment. Last year, Van Wagenen felt strongly about Wilpon being present. This year, they stayed in regular contact while Wilpon was elsewhere . . . Asked if he wanted to double down on his October insistence that Noah Syndergaard will not be traded, Van Wagenen said: “Nothing has changed.We fully anticipate him to be at the front of our rotation along with [Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman] . . . Don’t have any intention of changing course.”