Can the New York Mets survive another year with Brandon Nimmo as their starting center fielder? They probably can but it’s far from ideal.
After missing out on signing George Springer, the club lost out on the best players available at the position. Although there are other options out there, none seem perfect.
Jackie Bradley Jr. is another lefty bat whose career offensive totals are probably to the lineup in terms of scoring runs. Kevin Pillar might hit right-handed yet he’s probably best-suited in a corner spot at this point of his career.
A trade is always possible as well and I wouldn’t put it past them to explore those options. No one we should expect to be available is the greatest fit for what the Mets need. The issue goes beyond just plugging in a player, too.
Mets could really use a universal DH this year
Let’s say, hypothetically, the Mets do sign a guy to play center field. Take your pick. Whoever it is. Slot him in.
This allows Nimmo to slide over to left field. Suddenly, the possibility of seeing Dominic Smith play every day fades into dust.
It’s the biggest question plaguing the Mets in terms of lineup construction. How can the team proceed with two first basemen? Smith and Pete Alonso were able to share playing time last year because of the universal DH. It looks like we may not be treated to one in the National League this coming year which puts a huge wrench in the club’s plans.
Nothing is fully determined with more recent talks about a 154-game schedule and a DH in the NL attached to it providing a little more hope.
Smith could still play some first base and left field even if the DH kicks the bucket. However, this cuts down on the playing time Nimmo and this new center fielder would have.
As an organization, the Mets are no strangers to platoons. Gil Hodges practically helped invent it back in the 1960s. Doing this often could help Mets players stay fresher. The problem is that it can also take away from the best lineup possible because they can get too caught up in giving everyone a fair amount of playing time.
Finding the perfect center fielder is more than a Mets problem
Look around Major League Baseball and you may struggle to find more than a handful of teams with what we might consider an ideal center fielder. Even George Springer is past the age when you might want to fully commit to him at the position.
Mike Trout is the clear runaway winner as the best center fielder in the game. After him? We start to find one-sided players with either a bat or a glove. Those with both were unavailable to the Mets.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
There’s no easy answer to the Mets and the center field conundrum they face. The way the roster was constructed puts them in a pinch where they may inevitably have more men playing out of position than most of us would like to see.