The Mets had serious interest in making a Starling Marte trade with the Pirates work, but GM Brodie Van Wagenen had a strict line he wouldn't cross.
Andy Martino reported on Wednesday night on Baseball Night in New York on SNY about three separate deals the Mets said no to. One centered around J.D. Davis, one revolved around Brandon Nimmo, and another would have included two top prospects.
"There was a package offered to them that was centered around J.D. Davis, the Mets said no," Martino said. "I don't believe that's been reported. There was another package centered around Brandon Nimmo, which we knew, but the Mets said 'no, we're not willing to trade Nimmo for Marte.' And then there was another ask which was like two top prospects -- say two out of the top five top prospects in the system. And that was a no."
The Mets' top five prospects are widely viewed to be INF Ronny Mauricio, C Francisco Alvarez, RHP Matthew Allan, 3B Brett Baty, and INF Andres Gimenez.
All five of the above prospects have been listed as top 100 or potential top 100 prospects this offseason. Neither of the prospects the Diamondbacks traded for Marte are viewed in that regard yet, though they both have high upside.
"They had an opportunity, they were in serious talks with the Pirates around the new year, and they just weren't willing to do any of those things," Martino said about the Mets.
While Marte would've given the Mets a more "true" center fielder than Nimmo (if Marte's defensive dropoff in 2019 wasn't a sign of things to come), swapping him in for Nimmo -- who is roughly $9 million cheaper and has an extra year of team control -- wouldn't have made much sense.
As far as a deal for Marte revolving around Davis goes, while the Mets might not have a long-term home for the defensively-challenged Davis, they would've been giving up five years of team control of a very inexpensive Davis for two years of control of a relatively expensive Marte.
The Mets dealing two of their top five prospects for Marte also would've been a poor decision.
Van Wagenen made what is widely viewed as a bad choice last offseason when he included Jarred Kelenic in the trade that brought Edwin Diaz and Robinson Cano from the Mariners. That can't be undone, but that Van Wagenen has seemingly learned from that perceived mistake is a step in the right direction.