Rumors over the past few weeks indicate the biggest trade chip the Mets have is former first round pick Brandon Nimmo. The interest in Nimmo is quite understandable with him proving he is a Major League caliber player in 2017 as he hit .260/.379/.418 in 69 games last year.
It is also understandable the Mets would want to hold onto Nimmo. As of today, Nimmo is only one of five outfielders on the 40-man roster. Considering Michael Conforto is not expected to return until May 1st at the earliest, there are only four outfielders on the 40-man roster available to play on Opening Day. That would make keeping Nimmo all the more important.
So important to the Mets that they have reportedly rejected trades for players like Josh Harrison, who could not only help the Mets next year, but the ensuing two years as well. Considering there remains a number of vacancies on the 2018 Mets roster, and the team having a shallow farm system, the question needs to be asked about what the Mets should ultimately do with Nimmo.
Logan Barer – Keep Him
The Mets should keep both Nimmo and Juan Lagares. Nimmo has proven to be adept at getting on base as well as performing above and beyond in pinch-hit duties. If he ends up being relegated to a bench role then so be it, he’ll be one of the best pinch hitters in the game. If the outfielders ahead of him on the depth chart get injured, however, he serves as a solid insurance policy. He can play any outfield position and could even bat leadoff. As far as I’m concerned, he is cheap and is obviously a great clubhouse presence and it would be a mistake to trade him away.
Mathew Brownstein – Trade Him
The Mets need to decide how they plan on utilizing Brandon Nimmo. With reports out that the Mets balked at the trade proposal of Nimmo to the Pirates for Andrew McCutchen, Ken Rosenthal reported that sources believe Nimmo could be used as a centerpiece for another sought after Pirate, Josh Harrison. I’m of the belief that if you can acquire an everyday starting player for a young/platoon player such as Nimmo, you do it. The decision to not include Nimmo in a trade for McCutchen appears to be about team control, as the Mets have five years of control over Nimmo as opposed to just one for McCutchen.
In the case of Harrison, the Mets would have 2018 plus two club options on the versatile 29-year-old. Another consideration the Mets need to be mindful of is the fact that they currently have five outfielders on their 40-man roster; four healthy with Michael Conforto working his way back after dislocating his left shoulder at the end of August. If the Mets were to deal Nimmo in a trade for Harrison, they would need to sign a reserve outfielder for depth alone.
Versatility has been talked about a lot with Sandy Alderson, and Harrison fits that mold. He provides strong defense at multiple positions, speed, and a strong positive presence in the clubhouse. Since 2014 Harrison is one of only 11 players to have posted an OBP of .330 or greater, steal 55 or more bases, collect 550 or more hits, and post a WAR of 12.0 or greater. What this all boils down to is this: What role does Brando Nimmo have on the Mets moving forward? If the team doesn’t see a significant role for Nimmo within the next few seasons then I think it would be beneficial for the team to afford Nimmo the chance to play every day with another club, while using his potential in a deal to acquire immediate help.
Josh Finkelstein – Trade Him
I think the Mets did the right thing keeping Nimmo in the offer for McCutchen. However, I’m kind of torn on the deal for Harrison. I think Harrison is a great fit for the Mets and at first glance I wanted the Mets to jump at the offer. However, I thought about it some more an now I’m not really sure. Dan O’Dowd of MLB Network said that he believes Nimmo has turned a corner and the .379 OBP speaks for itself. However, there is not much of a natural fit for him in the lineup right now. The Mets outfielders do tend to have injury issues so Nimmo could get his chance that way. In the end, you have to “give up something to get something” so I think the Mets should consider trading him in the right deal, but certainly don’t just give him away.
Ed Leyro – Keep Him
For now, the Mets should keep Nimmo, not just because he will probably get some playing time while Conforto is out, but also because he may just be the best option to be the leadoff hitter on days when he’s in the starting lineup. In 215 plate appearances last season, Nimmo walked 33 times, which gave him a healthy .379 OBP.
The only other leadoff option currently on the team is Amed Rosario because of his speed, but his .271 OBP at the major league level isn’t exactly ideal for a table-setter at the top of the order. Nimmo will probably never be an everyday player, but because of the uncertainty surrounding Conforto’s ability to return to form and because no one else on the current roster is willing to take a few pitches, that leaves Nimmo as a player who needs to remain a Met for the time being.
Dilip Srindhar – Keep Him
No inclination to trade him. Nimmo one of just five outfielders on the 40-man roster. Oh by the way, the Mets have shown a propensity to get hurt. Nimmo will get playing time throughout the year. Josh Harrison will realistially make an 82-83 win team into a 84-85 win team. The Mets season will boil down to the piching staff so I’m not overly excited about the prospect of moving a guy like Nimmo for someone who only makes us a little bit better. Just sign Todd Frazier and let’s get to battle. Frazier is a good glove like Harrison, he’s a good clubhouse guy, and he’s versatile. Nimmo is great depth for the Mets regardless of what his future is.
John Sheridan – Trade Him
Heading into the offseaon, I would have designated Nimmo as a player the Mets absolutely should not trade. He has the potential to be the Mets leadoff hitter for a decade, and he was the perfect platoon partner for Lagares in center field. My opinion changed drastically when the Mets went out and got Jay Bruce.
With the return of Bruce, Nimmo gets pushed to a fourth or even fifth outfielder role once Conforto returns from injury. Considering Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes are signed for the next three years, Nimmo really has no chance to crack the Mets starting lineup until the 2021 season. That will be his second arbitration eligible year, and he will be a free agent after the following season. Essentially, keeping Nimmo means the Mets will have essentially wasted all of their years of control over the talented outfielder.
This leads to an important question: Is it better to have Nimmo on your bench for the next three years than it would be to have Harrison as your starting second baseman over the same time frame? In a vacuum, I’d keep Nimmo, but given the construct of the Mets roster over the next three years, the team is better off having Harrison playing everyday. They can then go out and sign a player like Rajai Davis to serve as the fifth outfielder.
Overall, our writers are split down the middle as to what the Mets should do with Brandon Nimmo. That’s not surprising as this is not an easy decision. We look forward to seeing if our readers are as split about the decision as our staff is.