Mookie Betts, not Sterling Marte should be Mets' prime trade target this winter

Rick Laughland

With reports surfacing this week that the Mets have interest in Pirates outfielder Sterling Marte, it begs the question, are the Amazin's looking in the wrong places for a solution to their outfield needs? 

Put simply: yes. 

Mookie Betts. Betts is a perennial MVP candidate that would instantly upgrade the Mets outfield situation, but at what cost?

Likely, the Mets will need to part ways with Dominic Smith, Edwin Diaz and another pitcher or two as a starting point to acquire Betts. The five-tool outfielder would be a delight for Mets fans to watch patrol at Citi Field. The one-time MVP, three-time Silver Slugger winner, four-time Gold Glove winner, one-time AL Batting Champion has all the credentials to make him a star in Queens.

At just 27, he has a lot of baseball ahead of him, and while newly hired manager Carlos Beltran expressed the utmost confidence in turning things Diaz around, the prudent play for New York would be to cut bait with the maligned reliever and use him as an asset to acquire Betts. Multiple media reports indicated that several teams were interested in Diaz ahead of the MLB trade deadline, among those teams, and at the front of the pack, was the Boston Red Sox.

The Mets, specifically GM Brodie Van Wagenen, decided to move forward with the current roster without selling off assets and the team staged an improbable second-half turnaround, but fell short of playoff contention at 86-76.

If a trade for Betts is completed, that would leave the Mets and Cespedes in an almost certain standoff whereby they could reach an injury settlement or a grievance could be filed by the Mets for the Cuban star's non-baseball injury that took place at his ranch. 

While the Red Sox have not directly linked Betts to any trade rumors, he's a name that fans should keep a close eye on if the Mets try to make an unlikely charge to acquire him.