July 21, 2024

The New York Mets have caught fire and are back in contention for the National League Wild Card. Despite this, would David Stearns, president of baseball operations, continue to hunt for someone to deal outfielder Starling Marte before the deadline? Might the Amazins be interested in Texas Rangers starting pitcher Tyler Mahle, who is now in rehab?

Joel Sherman of the New York Post recommended three “wild trades” for the 35-year-old outfielder. One of the offers proposed a one-for-one trade with the Rangers, which would send Marte to Texas and Mahle to New York.

“The Rangers used a rotating cast at DH to create a sickly.219/.290/.307,” he stated. “The Rangers signed Mahle to a two-year, $22 million contract in the winter, knowing that his availability this season would be uncertain following Tommy John surgery in May 2023. However, he has progressed to throwing off the mound, making a return in the second half more likely. The Rangers’ rotation is fragile, but it may also be deep.”

Sherman also discussed the financial element of his proposal. “Mahle is owed $16.5 million in 2025, making him a close financial match with Marte next season. The Mets would have to make up the gap this season, with Marte making $18.5 million and Mahle making $5.5 million (both have about half of their salaries remaining in 2024).

What the Mets Would Get by Acquiring Mahle

Moving Mahle to Queens would be a more forward-thinking decision. The right-hander has not pitched since May 2023, when he underwent Tommy John surgery. He inked a two-year agreement with Texas in December and might return after the All-Star break.

Sherman’s reasoning for trading Marte for Mahle is mostly motivated by New York’s 2025 starting rotation. Adrian Houser, Jose Quintana, and Luis Severino are all eligible for free agency this winter. Sean Manea may also enter the free market if he declines his 2025 player option, according to Spotrac.

So the Mets’ incumbent starters would be Tylor Megill, David Peterson, and Kodai Senga. Senga, of course, has yet to play in a big league game this season due to injuries. Mahle’s addition would provide Stearns another accomplished MLB starting pitcher before the summer. The right-hander has a career 4.30 ERA over seven seasons, with a 3.16 ERA in 26.2 innings for the Minnesota Twins in 2023.

How Trading Marte Opens up Intriguing Possibilities for New York

Mets' Starling Marte takes key steps forward in rehab

 

Marte never got back on track in 2023 after undergoing double groin surgery the previous offseason. However, in 2024, his bat has returned to life. He’s slicing.In his first 252 plate appearances, he batted 281/.335/.424, with seven home runs, eight doubles, 28 RBI, 35 runs scored, and 12 steals.

Despite a rebound offensively, the two-time Gold Glove Award winner has become a problem in right field. According to Statcast, he ranks lowest among 42 qualified right fielders with -9 Outs Above Average. He’s under contract until 2025, so rebounding with the bat might make him an intriguing option as a designated hitter for other teams.

Sherman also made two interesting observations about a move like this. “It opens up right field for potentially Drew Gilbert this year or next or if they want to make a big run at Juan Soto after the season,” he stated.

Gilbert’s 2024 has been off to a rough start. He’s hitting.240/.321/.360 in his first 28 plate appearances. However, he just posted a.868 OPS in 2023 and is the Mets’ second-best prospect, according to MLB.com.

The Mets have also been linked to Soto for months, and they are expected to make a significant push for the New York Yankees outfielder this winter.

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