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Michael Conforto's free agency woes are a cautionary tale for Brandon Nimmo

New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Mets v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Over the winter, Brandon Nimmo found a new agent. Scott Boras became his guy to help him get a new deal when he hits free agency next winter. Pretty much the only MLB agent everybody knows, Boras has a ruthless reputation for trying to get every dollar possible. It may be why former New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto is still unsigned.

Conforto reportedly turned down a $100 million offer from the Mets last offseason. Betting on himself, he turned in one of the worst seasons of his career. The price tag apparently didn’t go down much. Opening Day is less than two weeks away and he’s the last of the best free agents yet to sign a deal.

For Nimmo, the 2022 season is as important as last year was for Conforto. Walk years are always vital for an upcoming free agent to look his best. And with questions about Nimmo’s health, he may want to avoid the pitfalls Conforto fell into.

Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo can learn a few things from Michael Conforto’s free agency struggle

If there’s one thing to continue to dislike about the way Nimmo plays baseball it’s the one thing he cannot control: injuries. Nimmo still has only one season with 100+ games played on his resume. Although he began as a part-timer as many do, the 2019 and 2021 seasons included enough injuries to knock him below triple-digits in games played.

Nimmo did manage to stay healthy in the shortened 2020 campaign but with only 60 games on the schedule, he couldn’t come close to 100 if he tried. There seems to be a yearly, if not a pair of them, injuries that hold Nimmo out of action. When it comes to free agency, this is often one of the top qualities a general manager should look at.

Conforto and Nimmo are similar yet different enough in their styles of play. Conforto is the slugger while Nimmo is the modern-day leadoff hitter who may not steal a lot of bases or consistently hit for a high average but he gets on base at a tremendous rate. Each is capable of putting up some fat analytic numbers. Both of them have done so throughout their careers.

Mets fans, for the most part, hold Nimmo in high-regard. However, he’s not exactly competing for MVPs. He can do things superbly well but the limited number of games played could be a big issue when he looks for a new contract.

Returning to the Mets makes sense for Nimmo. They will have an outfield vacancy with no clear-cut winner to replace him. And if Starling Marte isn’t the center fielder he was meant to be, the team will need to find a replacement rather quickly.

A similar comparison to him has been Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins. Another guy with some bright moments and a career hampered by injuries, he was able to secure himself a seven-year extension worth $100 million. Coming out to an average of less than $15 million per season, it’s a fair amount. And because it reaches the $100 million mark, it’s a notch on Boras’ belt getting another client there.

Nimmo's ability to play center field should help his free agency in a market where there aren't too many exceptional players at the position. Limited to the corner spots, teams were able to find more affordable options than Conforto. Nimmo's presence in center field gives him a leg up but he shouldn't get too cocky about it. Conforto still accomplished a lot and yet nobody seems to be meeting his demands.

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