How a Starling Marte Trade could impact Yoenis Cespedes

Michael Cohen

It’s hot stove season, and that means its prime time for the silly season of Major League Baseball where the rumor mill rules all. The latest rumor? The Mets have interest in 31-year old outfielder Starling Marte.

If the Mets are to part ways with more minor league prospects for a 31-year old outfielder whose defensive skills in center field were heavily questioned last season, it’s going to have an obvious ripple effect on the Mets current outfield alignment.

One such player who would be heavily impacted by a Marte trade is Yoenis Cespedes.

Now, we don’t know if Cespedes is ever going to play for the Mets again.

He is due to make $29.5 million in 2020, the final year of a four-year contract that has proven to an albatross for this franchise. The last anyone heard about the 34-year old outfielder was just two weeks ago when reports came out that Cespedes was taking live batting practice.

Obviously, it doesn’t mean that a return is imminent, but the Mets need to know if Cespedes is fully recovered from multiple surgeries on his heels, and the freak accident last spring where Cespedes broke his ankle on his ranch.

The money is going to be huge issue for the Mets if they are to part ways with Cespedes.

The Yankees, for example, just released oft-injured outfielder Jacob Ellsbury last week, and are not planning to pay the remaining $26 million he is due this season, based on a grievance the Yankees have field against Ellsbury for seeking outside medical advice.

Ellsbury and the Players Association are expected to vigorously fight that claim by the Yankees.

Do the Mets want to get themselves into a similar battle with Cespedes? The Mets would have an argument when it comes to Cespedes' ankle injury. 

It will be fascinating to watch how the Mets handle the Cespedes situation, but, an aggressive move for a player the caliber of Marte, who is due $11.5 million in 2020, could move the needle in that direction.

Another player that would be heavily impacted by any kind of trade for an outfielder like Marte would be Brandon Nimmo. The Mets had hopped that Nimmo would grow into the center field role last season, but he played in only 69 games last season due to injury.

When Nimmo was healthy in 2018 he provided a nice spark in the lineup, smacking 17 homers, while cobbling together an on base percentage of .404. He has potential, but the Mets apparently want a “sure thing.”

As for Marte, he would be an upgrade – at least on paper. He is a good player, not a great player; this isn’t Mookie Betts we are talking about here. Marte is coming off a career year offensively last season where he hit .295, belted 23 homers and drove in 82 RBIs. Marte’s defense, however, is a huge question mark. He committed five errors in center field last season, and his Gold Glove came as a left fielder.

The Mets have a history of overvaluing older players coming off career years before acquiring them. Mets fans better hope Brodie Van Wagenen and crew learned something from the disastrous Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz trade from last off-season before cementing any kind of deal.