The Marlins spent much of the season looking for ways to convert their glut of starting pitchers into some on-base help, and that search could have ended this week when the Fish distributed Pablo Lopes to the Twins as part of a four-player trade that sent luis arraez to Miami. Prior to this change, however, the Mets’ third baseman prospect Brett Baty was one of the other names on Miami’s radar, and Jon Heyman of the New York Post reports that the Marlins were willing to offer Jesus Luzardo or Eduardo Cabrera in exchange.
Reports earlier this month indicated that the Marlins had also been in talks with the Mets about Eduardo Escobarwhen New York apparently had a deal with Carlos Correa. If Correa’s contract had been finalized, an Escobar deal with the Marlins might have been more viable, but the Mets naturally opted to keep Escobar since the club had some issues with Correa’s physique. Heyman writes that the Marlins’ interest in Baty existed “before and after the Mets”. Carlos Correa the deal fell through,” and it’s probably safe to assume that the Mets’ willingness to move Baty also waned after the Correa situation.
While there seems to be no financial limit to the Mets’ desire to update their roster, Steve Cohen’s spectacular dives into free agency have been linked to the club’s desire to maintain its minor league depth. While New York has traded some of the best young players during Cohen’s two-plus years as owner, the Mets are unwilling to entirely clear out the farm system for proven veterans. As such, players like Baty, Francisco Alvarez, Marcos Vientos, ronny mauricioand the majors’ furthest prospects remained in the New York organization.
With Correa no longer on the scene and Escobar, 34, entering the final year of his contract, Baty could return to being the Amazons’ third baseman in the future, or even the present, if he starts to take on a bigger role. in 2023. Baty made his MLB debut last season and could potentially be deployed in a platoon with Escobar this year, or could see some action in left field. As Baty recently told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he would be happy to switch positions in the event of a Correa signing, saying “I just want to be in the big leagues helping a team win.” Baty also said that he feels “stronger than ever” following thumb surgery that prematurely ended his 2022 season, and although he has been fully healed since November, Baty will head to Spring Training early to make up for time lost in preparation.
With Baty looking like a key figure in the Mets’ future plans, it would have taken a good deal to get the team to change its mind about trading the third baseman… a move akin to, say, a talented young pitcher as controllable as Luzardo or Cabrera. Such a trade may no longer be on the table following the Arraez move, but it would have been a fascinating exchange of young talent, especially with the added wrinkle of the Mets and Marlins being divisional rivals. Both Luzardo and Cabrera would have added youth and long-term control to a veteran Mets rotation that currently has only one pitcher (kodai senga) locked beyond the 2024 season. Carlos Carrasco is entering the final year of his contract, while Max Scherzer, Justin Verlanderand Jose Quintana are all only guaranteed through the 2024 campaign (although Verlander has a takeover option for 2025).
If the Marlins had successfully acquired Baty, their rostering moves over the past few weeks would naturally have been quite different, and the Arraez trade would likely not have happened. In this scenario, Baty likely becomes the new everyday third baseman, while Jean Segura would have played second base instead of the hot corner. That would still have opened the door to Jazz Chisholm Jr. to be moved to center field as the Marlins are seeing if the All-Star second baseman’s speed and arm can translate to success as an outfielder.