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Mets agree to four-year, $78 million deal with Starling Marte, per report

The Mets had themselves a very busy Black Friday.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are in agreement on a four-year, $78 million deal with free agent center fielder Starling Marte, per a report late Friday night from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. The deal is pending a physical.

The Marte deal caps off an extremely busy Friday for the Mets, who also reportedly agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with infielder Eduardo Escobar and a two-year, $26.5 million deal with outfielder/first baseman Mark Canha that includes a club option for a third year.

Marte, 33, led the majors with 47 steals in 2021, and his combination of speed and plus on-base skills makes him one of the most dynamic players in baseball. He hit .310/.383/.458 with 12 homers between the Marlins and Athletics this past season, and he’s been very consistent at the plate over his 10-year career, hitting .289/.346/.451.

Marte was also once considered one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball, though his defense has been at least slightly below-average in each of the past three seasons. He had a career-worst -8 defensive runs saved in 2019, -2 in 2020, and -4 in 2021. Considering his defensive regression, it should be interesting to see if the Mets plug him in as their center fielder or move him to a corner. He has plenty of experience in left field, where he’s played 593 career games.

With Marte and Canha in the fold, the Mets have now effectively replaced Michael Conforto, who declined New York’s qualifying offer and became a free agent earlier this month. With an outfield of Marte, Canha, and Brandon Nimmo, the Mets will be able to move Dominic Smith, who has always seemed a little out of place in left field, to designated hitter (assuming the universal DH is instituted as part of the new collective bargaining agreement).