Mets Handling of Brandon Nimmo Is Inept
In what was really a disheartening 2017 season for the Mets, Brandon Nimmoemerged as a bright spot for the franchise.
The 2011 first round pick, the first one of the Sandy Alderson Era, proved he belonged in the Major Leagues. With him hitting .260/.379/.418 in 69 games, he slowed he could potentially be more than that.
That makes how the Mets have handled him this offseason all the more baffling.
As the offseason began, Nimmo’s name was never truly promoted as a possibility as a starter in center. Sure, there are those who question whether he could truly handle the position in the majors, but the fact remains he played 456 games in center in the minors as opposed to just 92 games in the corners.
Ideally, Nimmo was the perfect platoon partner with an injury prone and defensive wizard Juan Lagares, who appeared to be the early favorite to be the everyday center fielder.
This became somewhat of a moot point when the Mets signed both Jay Bruceand Adrian Gonzalez. With both players in the fold to at least start the 2018 season, this means Michael Confortowill be the center fielder when he returns from his shoulder injury.
Considering Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes are each signed through the 2021 season, Cespedes-Conforto-Bruce should be the outfield alignment over the next three seasons.
This begs the question about where this leaves Nimmo.
Well, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it could have left Nimmo in Pittsburgh.
First, the Pirates reportedly wanted Nimmo in exchange for former MVP and impending free agent Andrew McCutchen.
With McCutchen averaging a -22 DRS in center the past two years, dropping from a 21.5 WAR player from 2012 – 2014 to a 6.7 WAR the past three years, and his impending free agency, you understand the Mets thought process.
Another consideration is the Mets believe the Pirates could accept Nimmo as a centerpiece for Josh Harrison. Harrison is a versatile player who can handle second, is owed $10.25 million with two succeeding team options, and has asked the Pirates for a trade.
Considering there’s no path for Nimmo to become a regular on the Mets for three years, it would appear moving him for Harrison or another player would make a ton of sense. That goes double when you consider the Mets have a huge hole at second, and the free agent options are quite poor.
But no, the Mets are hesitating on trading Nimmo at all. They not only still believe Nimmo could be a good player for them, but the team is hesitant to trade away good young talent from their depleted farm system.
Even if you take the Mets at face value they see a future for Nimmo, that future is not for another three years. By that time, he will have exhausted all of his options, be 27 years old, and a year away from free agency.
In the end, the Mets are keeping Nimmo in a misguided attempt to hold onto an asset for its own sake. They would rather have him stapled to their own bench than let him potentially thrive somewhere else. That decision isn’t helping Nimmo, and it isn’t helping the Mets.
It really makes you question whether the real reason the Mets won’t trade him is they’re really afraid of looking bad by watching him thrive elsewhere. Why else would the Mets simultaneously refuse to trade him and block his path to playing time?