2. After an injury-marred 2023 season, Starling Marte will struggle to regain his old form
Many Mets fans have been breathlessly checking for Winter League updates for the past month, as Starling Marte has suited up for Leonides del Escogido. The Mets' right fielder has looked healthier than he has in over a year, hitting well over .300 and even stealing some bases. Will this translate into a bounce-back year in Flushing? Mets fans should be skeptical.
Marte has battled injuries since late 2022, and the Mets haven't been the same, either without him or with a compromised version of him. He enters this season at 35 years old, and history isn't on his side. Most players are already regressing by this age, whether healthy or not. For a player like Marte who has relied so heavily on his speed throughout his career, the odds are even longer on a return to form.
The shame of it all is that a prime Starling Marte is the perfect player for this Mets team. Last year's rule changes resulted in an explosion of stolen bases, and Marte, who has 338 steals in 12 seasons, might have swiped 50 with a clean bill of health. I'm no doctor, but having a double groin surgery doesn't sound like a good thing for a speedy player.
Marte will likely be the Mets' Opening Day right fielder, but with the way DJ Stewart hit in his absence last year, he might cut into the veteran's playing time, and that's even assuming that Marte can stay relatively healthy.
With young exciting outfielders such as Jett Williams, Drew Gilbert, and Ryan Clifford making their way through the Mets system, this could be Marte's last chance to show what he's got. I'll be rooting for him, but his days are numbered.