Starling Marte's name has been in the trade rumor mill for a while, but the closer we get to the winter, the more these rumors have legs. MLB Insider Jon Heyman has reported that the New York Mets have expressed interest in trading for Starling Marte.
The Pittsburgh Pirates were a bad team in 2019, and unless Ben Cherington can replicate his 2013 success with the Red Sox, it won't be much different next season. That reality, along with Marte's value as a player and his two years of team control make him an obvious addition to the rumor mill.
As for the Mets, they don't excite me as potential trade suitors. The strength of their farm system is in the infield, and I don't see how Cherington would be able to justify trading Pittsburgh's most popular player for yet another group of infielders.
So, while all this "Starling Marte to the Mets" talk is in the news right now, I don't see the Mets as having the pieces to make it happen. Even if Cherington were willing to trade for another infielder, Ronny Mauricio, the Mets top prospect is ranked as only the #80 prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The value just isn't there for the Mets unless the plan is to offer players already in the majors, but that kind of defeats the Pirates' purpose of trading Marte in the first place.
Rather, if I'm Ben Cherington, I would focus on one of the other teams in Heyman's tweet - the San Diego Padres. The Padres have a stronger farm system than the Mets, and their strengths are in positions of need for the Pirates - catcher and pitcher.
Mackenzie Gore is a pitcher in San Diego's system and is currently the #4 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com. He would be quite a get for a new GM, but I'd be surprised if the Padres would be willing to give up such a prospect for a 31-year old player. It really depends on how close they think they are and how much closer they feel Marte would get them. Outside of him, Luis Patino (a RHP) and Luis Campusano (a catcher) would be attractive targets for the Pirates.
As Gary Morgan points out in his piece today on Marte, the reasoning for trading Marte is sound, but the return had better be there or else, in the eyes of the Pirates' fan base, Huntington's floor will be Cherington's ceiling and no one wants that.
Like I said, the trade rumor mill will only get busier, but, as it relates to Marte and the Mets, let's hope it remains a rumor.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @a_piratelife