When the New York Mets inked Brandon Nimmo to an eight-year, $162 million contract in December, the Mets banked on him to be their center fielder for the future.
But everyone goes through the wear and tear portion of their career as they age and Nimmo will undergo that phase of his career soon. But how deep into one of the largest free agent deals in Mets history will Nimmo stay in the position he wowed fans in last year when he made the catch of the baseball season in 2022?
NY Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo should get five more years in center field.
Nimmo turns 30 years old just three days before Opening Day this year, and is probably at the height of his powers for defensive value as a center fielder. In the past two seasons, Brandon Nimmo has had 10 outs above average in center field, which is tied for 12th among 49 qualified center fielders.
So if we assume that 30 is the peak age for most center fielders in terms of physical ability and intelligence factors, we could assume center field defense could be an issue again for the Mets at the latest in five more years. Remember, the Mets went years since the Mets had an everyday center fielder who could hit after Carlos Beltran. Of course the Mets had to invest a lot of money for him.
The Mets figured out early on that Starling Marte isn't exactly the ideal center because of a groin issue that popped up (and forced him to sit the All-Star Game last summer). And Marte still has three years left on his contract.
Also, who exactly is a top future center field prospect in the Mets' organization? You would figure Pete Crow-Armstrong, but he was the main part of the return package to the Chicago Cubs for two months of Javier Baez two summers ago.
The Mets understood that there was no real alternative to Nimmo in the open market this winter unless they traded the world for Julio Rodriguez or Mike Trout. That was why Billy Eppler and the front office were under tons of pressure to bring him back because of his added role as one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball (and that Nimmo wanted the most money from the Mets).
So Nimmo is going to be your every day center fielder until the body wears and tears for him enough to relegate him to a corner outfield spot.