When the news came out that Sandy Alderson would not include Brandon Nimmo in a trade for Josh Harrison, many Mets fans were angry. While at first it seems foolish as Harrison would address a serious need at second base, upon further inspection, trading one of the Mets outfielders for anyone at this point would be a mistake.
The Mets just signed Jay Bruce to a three-year deal, cementing him on the roster. Of all the outfielders the Mets currently have, he seems to be the only sure thing. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Michael Conforto‘s return from injury, but all signs point to a May return.
“Everything is going as planned,” Alderson told reporters Wednesday about Conforto’s rehab. “There are no setbacks, but any updates we have will probably be after we open camp. But right now I don’t expect him back before the first of May.”
There is always uncertainty surrounding Yoenis Cespedes regarding his health, but reports throughout the offseason say that he (and Noah Syndergaard) are working out much smarter than last offseason. They both missed significant time due to injuries possibly caused by excessive weight lifting. Still, even with an improved conditioning program, Cespedes’ battered history is cause for concern.
Lagares is uncertain for his health, but more so because of how hard it is to predict his offense. If nothing had changed, it would be reasonable to assume the same output we always see from him. About a .260/.300/.360 slash line with limited home runs and some stolen bases here and there. However, something has changed, as he has worked this offseason with the same private hitting coach that revitalized J.D. Martinez and transformed Chris Taylor.
Both players had amazing offensive seasons in 2017 and credit that to the same hitting coach that is now working with Lagares on his patience at the plate, but more importantly, his launch angle. While there is no guarantee he will undergo a Chris Taylor-esque transformation, it is a possibility. There is plenty of uncertainty about his offense, but one thing is for sure: He is the best defensive center fielder in the Major Leagues.
Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo might not have 30 home run potential like the other three outfielders, but with all this uncertainty surrounding the Mets outfield, it would be inadvisable to trade either of them. Nimmo was very impressive this season and Alderson says that even though many teams have called about him, he’s standing pat.
“Nimmo is an interesting guy,” Alderson said Wednesday. “First of all, he had almost an .800 OPS last year in limited playing time. He’s shown a real ability to come off the bench and have good at-bats for us, he plays with energy and enthusiasm, he’s kind of the poster boy for the kind of offense we and other people are trying to create.”
“Every player has some limitations, but Brandon is a player that we like and a player that a lot of other teams like as well,” Alderson said. “We’re happy we still have him.”
The Mets have five outfielders. The best outfielder they have in the organization outside of the players mentioned above is Matt Reynolds. One of their outfielders will be unavailable until May at least, leaving them with four. There is nobody “waiting in the wings” and money shouldn’t be spent on backup outfielders, it should be spent on needs like second base.
Nimmo, Lagares, Conforto, Cespedes, and Bruce are all the Mets have when it comes to MLB talent in the outfield. Trade any one of them and the outfield depth is seriously crippled and compromised. A trade involving Nimmo or Lagares might solve one problem, but it would create an even bigger one in the grand scheme of things.