Mets reportedly sign Starling Marte to four-year, $78 million deal as team completely overhauls roster

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  • New York Mets
    New York Mets
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Starling Marte
    Starling Marte
    Baseball player
  • Mark Canha
    Mark Canha
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  • Eduardo Escobar
    Eduardo Escobar
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|

Getting spurned by Steven Matz didn't deter the New York Mets from diving back into the free agent pool face-first. The Mets pulled off a Black Friday heist, picking up Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar and Starling Marte on Friday.

Marte is the biggest prize of that trio. The 33-year-old agreed to a four-year, $78 million deal with the team, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Marte — considered one of the best outfielders on the market — hit .310/.383/.458, with 12 home runs last season. He added 47 stolen bases, and was caught just five times. The right-handed Marte hasn't traditionally been the most patient player at the plate, with a career walk rate of just 5.3%, but that ticked up to 8.2% in 2021. And he has always made up for that with a strikeout rate under 20%. Marte's .310 average could be due for regression, but his career .289 batting average suggests he'll still be a high-average, top-of-the-order hitter going forward.

Marte started his career as a left fielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates, deferring to Andrew McCutchen, but has mostly played center field in recent seasons. He'll likely fill that role with the Mets, especially after the team signed Canha, who played left field with the Oakland Athletics.

Starling Marte with the Athletics.
Starling Marte signed a four-year deal with the Mets. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar benefit from Mets shopping spree

What Marte lacks in walks, Canha more than picks up the slack. Canha, 32, reportedly joined the Mets on a two-year, $26.5 million deal Friday.

Canha — a righty — hasn't reached the heights of his breakout 2019 season, when he hit .273/.396/.517, with 26 home runs, but he's still performed well the last two seasons.

Canha's calling card is his ability to get on base. He posted a .387 on-base percentage in 2020 and a .358 on-base percentage last season. Since 2019, Canha's 13.3% walk rate ranks 13th in the majors, slightly behind Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto. Canha also gets hit by a lot of pitches, leading the way with 27 in 2021.

That patience comes at a cost, as Canha's batting average is just .235 over the last two seasons. Like Marte, Canha usually hits near the top of the batting order. His ability to get on base is a strong asset. He also managed to swipe 12 bases last season, his first time with double-digit steals. Canha was only caught twice.

The Mets also reportedly brought in Escobar on a two-year, $20 million deal. Escobar is capable of playing multiple positions, but is expected to start at third for the Mets. Escobar — a switch hitter — is known for his power. He's averaged 22 home runs over his past five seasons, though that total is misleading due to Escobar hitting just four home runs during a fluky 2020.

Escobar doesn't typically hit for high averages or post strong on-base numbers, but he's a solid hitter who can obliterate fastballs and provide above-average power. The Mets need that pop, as the team finished 25th with 176 home runs last season.

Mark Canha with the Athletics.
Mark Canha is heading to the Mets. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)
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