The general sense after the Mets traded for center fielder Jake Marisnick was that it would end any potential pursuit of Pirates center fielder Starling Marte. Maybe not.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Monday that part of the reason why the Mets swung the deal for Marisnick when they did was because of a fear that they would be unable to land Marte. And Rosenthal suggested that Marte could still be in play.
Jon Heyman of the MLB Network reported Tuesday that the Mets have not ruled out Marte and that they would meet with the Pirates at the Winter Meetings, adding that the Pirates are seeking a "young, controllable" catcher.
By acquiring Marisnick, Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen accomplished part of his stated offseason goal -- to improve the team's defense. But while Marisnick is an elite defender, he doesn't profile as an everyday player. Marte, of course, does.
The 31-year-old Marte is owed $11.5 million this coming season and his contract contains a $12.5 million team option (and $2 million buyout) for the 2021 season.
For his part, Marte would welcome a trade to the Mets. And the Pirates, who are rebuilding and aren't expected to contend in 2020, should be looking to cash in.
"They (Pirates) have the power to decide," Marte told Hector Gomez in late-November. "If I had it in me, I left now because the caliber of players we have is not to compete in a World Series. The Mets have it all, it would be a great opportunity to play with them."
The tough part for the Mets if they go after Marte coud be matching up with Pittsburgh. With Josh Bell on the roster, the Pirates already have a tremendous young first baseman, so one of the Mets' main chips -- Dominic Smith -- might not be of interest to Cherington. As far as a "young, controllable" catcher, the Mets have rising prospect Francisco Alvarez.
The Mets finding a way to trade for Marte would give them a true everyday center fielder while relegating Marisnick to a bench role. And it would be a true impact move -- the kind of move the Mets haven't made yet this offseason.