NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets have bolstered their lineup with three free-agent deals, adding speedy center fielder Starling Marte to go along with Mark Canha and All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar.
Marte's four-year contract is worth $78 million, according to a person familiar with the deal. New York also has agreements in place with Canha, a veteran outfielder who also can play first base, and Escobar, who hit 28 homers this season.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because the contracts are pending physicals and haven't been announced by the team.
It's the first set of big moves by New York since Billy Eppler took over as general manager, promising on his first day to pursue pricey free agents and create a perennial World Series contender.
The spending spree for Mets owner Steve Cohen also comes after he publicly criticized the representation for pitcher Steven Matz, who has agreed to a $44 million, four-year contract with St. Louis.
“I’m not happy this morning. I’ve never seen such unprofessional behavior exhibited by a player’s agent. I guess words and promises don’t matter,” Cohen wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
Rob Martin, the pitcher’s agent, wrote in a text to The Associated Press: “We handle things the right way and so does Steven.”
New York went 77-85 this season, fading to third in the NL East after a strong start.
Marte, 33, played for Miami and Oakland this year, batting .310 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and a major league-high 47 steals in 120 games.
Marte made his big league debut in 2012 with Pittsburgh. He is a .289 hitter with 126 homers, 46 triples, 502 RBIs and 296 steals in 10 years in the majors.
The 32-year-old Canha hit .231 with 17 homers, 61 RBIs and 12 steals in 141 games with Oakland this year. He spent his first seven big league seasons with the Athletics, batting .244 with 89 homers and 294 RBIs.
The 32-year-old Escobar was a first-time All-Star in 2021, when he batted .253 with 90 RBIs and a .786 OPS for Arizona and Milwaukee. The switch-hitter has been a solid offensive contributor and a steady defender at third base the past four seasons, except for a slump during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Escobar has spent most of his time at third base, but he has experience all over the infield. His versatility could be key for the Mets if they don't bring back free agent Javier Báez.
AP Baseball Writers Jake Seiner and Jay Cohen contributed to this report.
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Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press