Over the past several days, we’ve touched on a bunch of players who would be good candidates for contract extensions now that the Mets are set to be owned by Steve Cohen when his approved purchase of the team closes. And today we continue that series with another outfielder: Brandon Nimmo.
Drafted by the Mets out of high school in Wyoming in the first round all the way back in 2011, Nimmo made his major league debut in 2016. He put up 80 respectable but unexciting plate appearances in his time in the big leagues that year, but his major league career took a step forward the following year. In the 2017 season, he made 215 plate appearances for the Mets and hit .260/.379/.418 with a 118 wRC+.
In 2018, Nimmo’s career really took off. Over the course of 535 plate appearances, he hit .263/.404/.483 with 17 home runs, nine stolen bases, and a 148 wRC+. His overall play that year earned him 4.5 fWAR and 4.2 bWAR. To date, that is his best full season, but after injuries dampened his performance in 2019—a season in which he still had a .375 OBP and .407 SLG despite having just a .221 average—Nimmo rebounded very nicely in the short 2020 season. His 148 wRC+ this year matched his mark from 2018, and he hit .280/.404/.484 with eight home runs in 225 plate appearances.
Consistently among the better players in the game when it comes to getting on base over the past few years, Nimmo’s bat is one that any reasonable time would like to have in its lineup. The big downside here is that his defensive capabilities are really suited only for a corner, with his play in center field having been bad in the opportunities he’s had out there, especially over the past couple of years.
Still just 27 years old, Nimmo is under team control through the 2022 season, as he’s set for his second year of arbitration eligibility in 2021. That he’s been a little bit vulnerable to injuries over the course of his major league career is a concern, but regardless of what the Mets do with their other extension candidates, he would be a perfectly reasonable player to lock up beyond the next two seasons.
It’s hard to make a real guess at what that contract would look like given the way that teams are currently approaching payroll and free agency, but a medium-term deal at a salary approaching market rate for an outfielder with a good bat doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to make happen here. If the Mets were to choose just one of their outfielders to extend, it would be preferable to see them do so with Michael Conforto, but keeping Nimmo around for more than the next two years would be a welcome move.