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Mets interested in Pirates center fielder Starling Marte

The 31-year-old has two years of team control remaining.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are interested in Pirates center fielder Starling Marte, according to Jon Heyman. The 31-year-old has two years of team control left via options, the first of which would pay him $11.5 million in 2020 and the second coming in at $12.5 million for 2021.

Over the course of his eight years in the big leagues, Marte has been good. He hit .295/.342/.503 with 23 home runs, 25 stolen bases in 31 attempts, and a 119 wRC+ with 3.0 fWAR in 2019. That line is similar to his career numbers: .287/.341/.452 with a 116 wRC+. Marte’s best seasons by fWAR came back in 2013 and 2014, but he has been in the three-to-four range in every season since 2013 except for one.

Given his solid level of production and the scarcity of center fielders in general, the Mets would probably have to give up something that stings at least a little bit to get Marte from the Pirates, though Heyman notes that it’s not known yet what the Pirates will do since they still don’t have a manager. Pittsburgh recently hired Ben Cherington to be their new general manager.

Right now, the Mets’ projected outfield to begin the 2020 season would include some combination of Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and J.D. Davis—and potentially Yoenis Cespedes if he is able to return to the field after breaking his ankle while recovering from surgery on both of his heels.