The New York Mets made a big splash on Black Friday, signing three position players to multi-year deals. The biggest deal of the day came just before midnight when Jon Heyman of Audacy Sports reported that the Mets were closing in on signing free agent center fielder Starling Marte. The deal is reportedly worth $78 million over four years.
Marte, 33, was the top center fielder on the free agent market. Through 120 games with the Marlins and Athletics in 2021, Marte slashed .310/.383/.458 with 12 home runs, 55 RBIs and 47 stolen bases. He was among the top defensive center fielders in baseball last season according to Statcast’s outs above average.
In 80 plate appearances since 2019, Marte has a 1.113 OPS against the Phillies. It’s likely that Marte will continue to crush Phillies pitching during his stay in Queens. The Phillies, along with the Marlins, Yankees, Giants, Rangers and Astros all had interest in signing Marte.
Outside of the versatile Chris Taylor and perhaps Kris Bryant, the market lacks a starting caliber center fielder. This means the Phillies are likely to pivot to the trade market to fill their need at the position. They could acquire a glove-first center fielder like Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier or put together a trade package for a star like Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds or Minnesota’s Byron Buxton. Oakland’s Ramon Laureano could also be a trade target for the Phillies.
Last offseason, the Phillies opted to rely on internal options in center field. Odúbel Herrera, who spent most of last season as the Phillies starting center fielder, is a free agent after the Phillies declined his 2022 club option and decided not to retain him in arbitration. Roman Quinn is recovering from a torn Achilles and is a non-tender candidate, Scott Kingery was outrighted to the minors and Dave Dombrowski told reporters at the GM Meetings that the Phillies are not counting on former first round picks Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak to be on the MLB roster at the beginning of next season.
They have no choice but to look elsewhere for a starting center fielder next year. With Marte off the board, the Phillies will likely have to get creative to fill the void.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Mock Offseason 2.0: Phillies Win Byron Buxton Sweepstakes
- Bryce Harper Wins 2021 NL MVP
- 7 Former Phillies Appear On 2022 Hall Of Fame Ballot
- Phillies Among Teams ‘Aggressively Pursuing’ Bryan Reynolds
- Kevin Long On Kyle Schwarber: ‘I Do Think That He Would Fit The Phillies’
- Phillies Reportedly Interested In 3 Star Closers
- Bryce Harper Triggered Multiple Contractual Bonuses During Awards Season
- Zack Wheeler Finishes A Close Second In NL Cy Young Award Voting
- What Free Agents Could The Phillies Sign Without Giving Up Draft Compensation?
- Bryce Harper’s Top 5 Home Runs Of 2021