The Mets and outfielder Brandon Nimmo are in agreement on a deal that would bring him back to Queens, reports Joel Sherman of The New York Post. It will be an eight-year, $162MM deal. Sherman adds that Nimmo will have a no-trade clause.
Nimmo, 30 in March, was considered by most observers to be the clear #2 outfielder on this winter’s free agent market, well behind Aaron Judge but also well ahead of anyone else. Nimmo is nowhere near Judge in terms of power, as he has only 63 home runs in his seven-year career, while Judge hit 62 in 2022 alone.
Despite that lack of power, Nimmo stood out from the rest of the outfielders on the market for a couple of reasons. One is an ability to play center field and a second is his ability to get on base. For his career, which began in 2016, he has a 13.6% walk rate and .385 on-base percentage. Only 17 qualified hitters have a better walk rate in that time while only seven have a better OBP. His career batting line is currently .269/.385/.441, leading to a 134 wRC+, indicating he’s been 34% better than the league average hitter.
That level of production would be welcome at any position but it’s especially valuable in center field, where many teams are looking for upgrades. Nimmo was unsurprisingly popular as a free agent, getting publicly reported interest from the Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Rays and Mariners, with others surely interested as well. But it will be the Mets, the franchise that drafted Nimmo 13th overall back in 2011, who will keep him. Even before the offseason truly began, it was reported that the Mets were prioritizing retaining Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz, and they have now succeeded on both fronts.
The deal is not without its risks, as Nimmo has spent his share of time on the injured list. In his career, he has landed on the IL due to hamstring strains, a collapsed lung, a neck issue and a bruised finger. Due to those various ailments, he has only twice eclipsed 100 games in a season. Most of those injuries are a few years in the past at this point, as Nimmo stayed healthy in the shortened 2020 season, played 92 games in 2021 and then 151 games this year. That means he’s been healthy for the vast majority of the past three seasons. However, this deal has gone well beyond expectations in terms of both length and guarantee. MLBTR predicted a five-year, $110MM deal but Nimmo got three extra years and an extra $52MM, meaning this deal will take him into his age-37 season.
More to come.