If the Mets lose Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte is in line to play center

SAN DIEGO — If Starling Marte needs to change positions next season, the team expects a relatively easy transition.

If Brandon Nimmo leaves in free agency, Marte is among the Mets’ options to play center field. Marte, 34, moved to right field this season after spending the previous four seasons primarily as a center back.

“He’s ready to do whatever we want to do with him,” manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday at winter training. “Whatever you’re going to do with him, be upfront, tell him what’s expected, and leave him alone. Don’t move everywhere. We found it with the batting order. We found him right field, left field, center field in the spring. He does whatever he does.

“Understand that he didn’t play the right field last year. In order to [the lineup] work, he played for us. So it has to be something that he would be willing to do, but you have to be ahead of him and be consistent in how you approach it.

Starling Marte
Starling Marte
Getty Images

Nimmo is the best center fielder on the market and a deal beyond the Mets’ appetite.

“We want to get him,” Showalter said. “He is a good player. He braced himself. He had a post-up, good physical year, where for whatever reason he seemed to go through a lot of things that were a challenge in the past, he didn’t go into something where he had to sit out a lot of games.

“Brandon’s year has gotten better and better. He got better. So someone gets a good person and a good player. Let’s hope it’s us. If not, we have to be ready to pivot and move in a different direction.”

Adam Ottavino remains on the Mets’ list of potential bullpen returnees. The right-hander is looking for a multi-year deal after posting a 2.06 ERA in 66 games for the Mets last season.

“There needs to be cooperation on both sides,” Showalter said. “We love Adam and I think he loves us. And we’ll see if that fits into the scheme of trying to put a full team together.

The Mets have signed replay analyst Harrison Friedland to a multi-year contract. Coming off of last season, Friedland was instrumental in getting overturned calls on 78 percent of his challenges last season.

“He knows how to work the gears to get the angles before we go to the phone,” Showalter said. “He’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

The Mets are still searching for a bullpen coach and assistant coach to replace Craig Bjornson and Jeremy Barnes, respectively. Bjornson was not retained and Barnes was promoted to strongman coach, while Eric Chavez moved to the bench.

Former reserve coach Glenn Sherlock became full-time coach (and extended his contract until 2024).

Mets SNY voice Gary Cohen is among 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award – an induction into the broadcaster’s wing of the Hall of Fame. The winner will be announced on Wednesday. Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Tim McCarver are award-winning broadcasters with Mets ties.


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