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Mets 'confident in the group we have' amid more Starling Marte trade rumors

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen introduced new

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen introduced new manager Luis Rojas on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at Citi Field and had little to say about offseason roster moves.   Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Amid renewed rumors that the Mets have discussed a trade for centerfielder Starling Marte with the Pirates, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Friday that “we feel very confident in the group we have.”

Asked how aggressively he is pursuing upgrades to the outfield -- which has seen only marginal improvement this winter -- at this late date in the offseason, Van Wagenen stressed the roster’s existing bond and a hesitance to do anything that might ruin that.

“We don’t have to disrupt what we have,” he said. “We do have the chemistry that I spoke of, we have a culture where people buy into one another and believe they can pick each other up. I don’t see a deal that’s going to disrupt that environment.

“If there’s an opportunity to continue to improve our roster, we’ll explore it. But our aggressiveness right now is focused on getting ready for spring training with the players we have.”

The Mets have talked with the Pirates — led by new GM Ben Cherington — off and on most of the offseason. This week, multiple reports said those talks have begun anew, but none suggested that a deal was close. The Padres also have been linked to Marte.

For now, the Mets plan to roll with Brandon Nimmo in centerfield most days, with defensive ace Jake Marisnick perhaps starting against lefthanders. In leftfield, the Mets are looking at some combination of J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, Yoenis Cespedes (if healthy) and Nimmo (when Marisnick is in center).

“We’re excited about the guys that we have invited to camp,” Van Wagenen said. “We’re excited about the returning players  that we’ll have back on the roster, and we think we’ve added some key pieces from the outside that will help us this year.”

Extra bases

Van Wagenen said the Mets “feel good about what we have” in terms of catcher depth after bringing back Rene Rivera on a minor-league deal .  .  . Infield coach Gary DiSarcina visited Davis this month to work with him at third base, his natural position. The Mets plan to have Davis play in the infield and outfield in spring training .  .  . The Mets had Jed Lowrie, who missed almost all of the 2019 season with various leg injuries, visit last week. Said Van Wagenen, “We were pleased with his progress on where he’s at physically. We did some testing to measure his strengths and he’s progressing to the point where we’re optimistic of having him participate in a meaningful way in spring training games.”

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