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Mets easing off trade pursuit of Starling Marte

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The Mets are expected to keep Brandon Nimmo rather than meet the Pirates’ steep asking price.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Despite several days of rumors that the Mets were in talks with the Pirates in an attempt to acquire Starling Marte, reports are now coming in that a deal is highly unlikely at this point, due to the sense that Marte would not be a significant upgrade over Brandon Nimmo, who would have likely been a trade piece either in exchange for Marte or in another deal to free up the roster spot and playing time for him.

The 31-year-old right-handed center fielder is coming off a strong offensive season in which he hit .295/.342/.503, but his once-elite defense took a dive, raising questions about his future as an up-the-middle defender. He is signed through 2020 for $11.5 million with a $12.5 million team option for 2021.

Nimmo, who missed much of the 2019 season with a neck injury, bounced back from a rough start to the year to finish with a .221/.375/.407 line. Over the past three seasons, he has a .391 OBP and a 133 wRC+, and he’s under team control through the 2022 season.

The addition of Jake Marisnick earlier this offseason also helps offset Nimmo’s defensive limitations by offering a late-inning replacement in center.