3-time Gold Glove winner could replace Brandon Nimmo in CF

Jun 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) runs
Jun 12, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) runs / Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

This latest of the New York Mets rumors is not ideal. The Mets have a center field issue as Brandon Nimmo is a free agent and there isn't really an ideal path to replacing him. Nimmo has developed into an elite center fielder and if he leaves, the Mets will likely end up being much worse than they were when they got bounced in the Wild Card Round.

Nimmo is a player who can run, hit, hit for power, and play tremendous defense in center field. Those players are extremely hard to replace, and doing so would be an almost impossible task. This is why he was my top priority for players the Mets had to re-sign.

One center field option who's available is Kevin Kiermaier. The Mets reportedly will consider signing him if Nimmo departs according to Jon Heyman of the NY Post.

If the Mets rumors involving replacing Nimmo with Kiermaier come to fruition, the team that just got bounced in the Wild Card round will be substantially worse.

I understand the Mets having a limit on what they're willing to pay players, they honestly should. Would I feel comfortable giving Nimmo the George Springer contract or even more? Probably not. However, the Mets really don't have much of a choice.

The Mets rumors involving Kevin Kiermaier make little sense to me. Kiermaier is an unbelievable defender as he's won three Gold Gloves, so the Mets would probably improve defensively, I say probably because Nimmo has developed into an elite defender. He ranked in the 90th percentile in outs above average according to baseball savant. Kiermaier didn't even rank anywhere because he only played in 63 games.

This is nothing new for the former Rays outfielder. Kiermaier has played in over 100 games just five times in his nine full seasons. Two of those times have come in the last five seasons. For all of the questions that come up about Nimmo's durability, Kiermaier is just as injury prone if not more so.

So the Mets don't really gain much of anything defensively or durability-wise, so where do they gain? Well it's certainly not offensively. Kiermaier is a below average hitter at best, boasting a career OPS+ of 98.

He slashed .228/.281/.369 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in the 63 games he played this season. In the 122 games he played in 2021, he had a 102 OPS+. Nimmo's worst season in the big leagues other than his rookie season offensively was when he had an OPS+ of 111 in 2019. Nimmo only played in 69 games that season and likely would've finished with a better mark had he played more. Kiermaier has topped that number twice in nine seasons.

The Mets lose one of their best players and replace him with a player who should not be playing every day in Kiermaier. I'd be fine if the Mets brought him in as a fourth outfielder, but this makes little sense to me as a starter.

The only other real option out there is Cody Bellinger and the Mets haven't been linked to him. They could make a trade, but trading prospects when you can just pay Nimmo isn't ideal.

Look, I understand the Mets would have to overpay to keep Nimmo. Overpaying especially in terms of the years given out is never fun. However, this team will be worse if Nimmo is not on it. The Mets already went from deGrom to Verlander which you can argue is a downgrade if deGrom is healthy. If they lose Nimmo and replace him with Kiermaier they lose their leadoff hitter and replace him with a bench player.

I really hope Steve Cohen bites the bullet on this one and just overpays. Any Mets rumors involving replacing Nimmo are bad. If there was a rumor involving someone like Aaron Judge, fine. Replacing him with Kiermaier is a no for me.

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