The Mets and Astros are in agreement on a trade that will send outfielder Jake Marisnick from Houston to New York, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweets. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first (via Twitter) reported that the two sides were close to a deal. Houston will receive a pair of minor leaguers in return for Marisnick, per SNY’s Andy Martino (Twitter link).
The trade is seemingly a sensible move for both clubs. Houston has an abundance of outfielders on the roster with Michael Brantley, George Springer, Kyle Tucker, Josh Reddick, Myles Straw and Yordan Alvarez all likely ticketed for varying levels of time in the outfield in 2020.
Meanwhile, the Mets have a need for a center fielder but also lack payroll flexibility, making Marisnick and his projected $3M salary an appealing target. The Astros themselves are on the cusp of luxury tax territory, so shedding even a relatively minimal salary is of some help.
As noted in our Offseason Outlook on the Astros, looking to move the salaries of Marisnick and/or Reddick was a plausible course of action for Houston this winter. It still seems likely that they’ll at least explore their options with Reddick and his $13M salary.
Marisnick, 29 in March, will be a short-term acquisition for Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen and his staff, as he’s entering his final season of club control. He’s been utilized in a part-time capacity in Houston and hasn’t provided much offense in recent years, hitting .224/.283/.406 over the past two seasons combined. But Marisnick runs well and grades out as a terrific outfield defender; over the past two years he’s registered 17 Defensive Runs Saved, a +7.5 Ultimate Zone Rating and 21 Outs Above Average despite only logging 1327 innings in the outfield.
For a Mets club that has long struggled on the defensive side of the game, Marisnick’s glove will be a welcome addition even if it comes at the cost of some offense.
In some ways, the acquisition of Marisnick mirrors the Mets’ acquisition of Keon Broxton last January. Like Broxton, Marisnick is a glove-first center fielder with notable strikeout issues and a history of OBP deficiency. His swing-and-miss troubles aren’t as extreme as were Broxton’s, however, and Marisnick has a lengthier track record as a generally useful player. He’s typically been worth between one and two wins above replacement in each of the past five years and could, of course, deliver a bit more overall value if he’s afforded more playing time.
Even if he washes out in his new setting (as Broxton did), the financial hit won’t be substantial, and given his limited offensive track record and waning club control, the prospect cost to acquire him was quite likely minimal.