5. Starling Marte
Marte was linked to the Yankees as early as last year’s trade deadline, but they didn’t strike then, and this time around they lost him to the New York Mets, who signed the veteran to a four-year, $78 million contract. Steve Cohen was arguably the only smart owner to take advantage of the impending lockout.
You might look at Marte’s contract and deem it too costly … and we wouldn’t necessarily disagree. But the Yankees needed more speed, contact hitting, and better outfield defense. Aaron Hicks starting in center on Opening Day, at this point, is the antithesis of all of that. He’s lost his range and arm strength and he’s a low average/high OBP guy. The Yankees made their bed with that terrible seven-year extension, and there’s no reason Hicks should be anything but a fourth outfielder in 2022. Either that, or he should be traded if they can find a suitor.
Marte stole 47 bases in 120 games last year. He batted .310 with an .841 OPS and 132 OPS+ … and he has a long, long track record of this kind of production. So what if he’s 33 years old? He clearly wasn’t affected by age in what was one of his best career seasons.
If the Yankees have bigger plans to spend their money, so be it. But Marte was there for the taking. Only for cash. Which this organization is supposed to have an endless supply of.