The Mets are facing a number of high-profile free agents as the offseason looms. Among them is center fielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s easily the best non-Aaron Judge free agent option at the position. Nimmo and his representatives at the Boras Corporation will soon hear from a number of interested teams, as they’re allowed to formally speak with clubs other than the Mets five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
New York will surely keep in touch with Nimmo themselves, but they do have a potential in-house replacement if he departs. Starling Marte had played exclusively center field with the D-Backs, Marlins and A’s from 2020-21, but he moved to right field in deference to Nimmo after signing a four-year free agent deal last offseason. Marte didn’t start a single game in center field in 2022, logging all of five innings at the position. He played just under 1000 innings in right field.
After spending a year playing in a corner and having recently turned 34 years old, it’s fair to wonder if Marte’s days as a regular center fielder could be behind him. Speaking with Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman of the New York Post on The Show podcast this morning (Twitter link), Mets general manager Billy Eppler said the team would be comfortable deploying Marte as their primary center fielder in 2023 if necessary.
“Can Starling still play center field? Yeah, we believe he can,” Eppler told the Post. “That opens up some optionality for how we ultimately fill out that outfield. … We do have the ability to slide Marte over to center for a number of games, over 50% of the games. He’s got that ability to do that. … We are comfortable with him in center field.”