Brandon Nimmo’s name has appeared in several offseason New York Mets trade rumors. Dealing him would likely create a new hole for them to fill.
One name appearing in offseason New York Mets trade rumors a little too often for our liking is Brandon Nimmo. The young outfielder had a breakthrough campaign in 2018 featuring an abundance of hit by pitches, more home runs than we expected, and a firm place in our hearts.
Nimmo is a different brand of ballplayer. He hustles on every play and has a positive effect on the culture of the locker room. Trading him would do a different kind of damage to the Mets than it would if they were to move anyone else on the roster.
Above all else, dealing Nimmo away would create yet another hole. If, say, the Mets were to trade him somewhere to help bring in a catcher, who joins Michael Conforto in the outfield next year?
The Mets do have outfield options currently on the roster. Nimmo, Conforto, Juan Lagares, and Yoenis Cespedes are the top names. Cespedes will begin the year on the disabled list and Jay Bruce will soon depart Flushing for the Seattle Mariners. This would leave them with only Conforto and Lagares in the outfield at the start of 2019 if Nimmo is no longer there.
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Whether you believe Nimmo is a starter or not, it’s clear he’s an important part of the roster. Even as a platoon player, he fills a gap. The Mets could conceivably trade him for a catcher, but this would require them to go out and find an outfielder through other means. Why not simply keep Nimmo and sign a free agent catcher?
This winter’s class of free agent catchers isn’t great, but it’s much better than it could be. Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos headline. Behind them, there are potential bounce-back candidates like Jonathan Lucroy and Matt Wieters.
I don’t expect the Mets to put a catcher in the All-Star Game next year. Plenty of teams need an upgrade and I would imagine they would pay more and/or offer a better chance at competing. Gomes may look better than those second-tier free agent catchers, but the cost of losing an outfielder may not be worth it.
One way the Mets may be able to make a potential Nimmo trade work would require the addition of a top outfielder either through trade or free agency. By putting Peter Alonso on the Opening Day roster as the starting first baseman, they could potentially get the bat they’re missing through the loss of Nimmo.
The outfield would include then Conforto, Lagares, and the new guy with Alonso at first base. The big issue here becomes a lack of depth. I’m already worried about the bench in 2019 with Wilmer Flores’ release. This plan would probably have Dominic Smith serving as an outfield option, which is just dreadful to think about.
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Nimmo is an intriguing trade option for the Mets to consider. Unless they think two moves ahead and who would replace him on the roster, I don’t see it happening.