Where Should Ketel Marte Play?
The sample size we have for Marte in center field is roughly 100 games less, but collectively still slightly more than a complete 162 game season. Marte has played 172 career games in center field. His fielding percentage was .991 while the LAF% is .988. His range factor in center is 2.30 while only making 3 errors but having a cringe worthy -13 DRSAA. All of those stats are , as usual, from Baseball-Reference.
He is owed $8.4MM this season. Plus, he has a team option for both 2023 and 2024 at $8MM and $10MM respectfully each having a $1MM buyout. It goes without saying that Ketel is a piece to build this team around, so the Diamondbacks need to do their best to keep him both healthy and happy. I have never spoken to him but I am sure that as a Fansided Contributor when I ask him the question, "What position on the diamond would you rather play?" He would give the expected answer of, "I will play wherever the team needs me to play." So let's factor that as the final piece of our where Marte should play-puzzle. Where do the Diamondbacks need him to play based on the other players on the 40 man roster?
Let's eliminate short-stop right off the bat (no pun intended) as the Diamondbacks have the light hitting defensive wizardry of Nick Ahmed. Dalton Varsho should be given a chance to be the center fielder and back-up catcher. In a pinch, Pavin Smith could be used, but not long term. AAA has Stuart Fairchild, who the Diamondbacks received along with Josh VanMeter in the 2020 trade deadline deal with the Reds for Archie Bradley, who was in 16 games with the big league club last year. Plus, if all else fails, you could promote your center fielder of the future Alek Thomas from AA. He hit .370 in August for Amarillo and when promoted to AAA Reno hit .380 in September for them. So he is not needed in center field. But, is he needed at 2nd base?