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Brandon Nimmo has 162 million reasons to smile as he kicks off a new season with the Mets

Nimmo will be a Met for the next eight years, which is great news for all parties.

New York Mets Brandon Nimmo smiles after his RBI single in National League Wild Card Series Photo by J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

Heading into the 2022 season, Brandon Nimmo was staring down free agency and a potential future away from the only organization he had ever known. Nimmo, who has been a member of the Mets since getting drafted 13th overall in the 2011 MLB Draft, was coming off an injury-plagued 2021. Despite posting a stellar 137 wRC+, a career-best .292 average, and a .400+ on-base percentage for the third time in four seasons, concerns about his health and his durability cast doubt upon his long-term future in New York.

Nimmo allayed those fears with a career-high 151 games in 2022 and further established himself as a strong center fielder despite the team’s signing of Starling Marte the previous winter. He finished the year slashing .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs—one behind his career high—to go along with 64 runs batted in. He also scored a career-high 102 runs, thanks in large part to the best offense we’ve seen from a Mets team since the second half of 2015. Nimmo finished the year with a 134 wRC+ and a career-best 5.4 fWAR.

In doing so, he gave the Mets no choice but to pay him, as the possibility of a future without their homegrown star and leadoff spot stalwart seemed like a nightmare scenario in the making. In the winter, the Mets backed up the truck for Nimmo, signing him to an eight-year deal worth $162 million, the second-biggest contract given out by the franchise behind only Francisco Lindor’s historic 10-year deal. The contract makes him something of a unicorn in franchise history: a player who stands to play pretty much their entire career in orange and blue, and he will go down as one of the longest-tenured Mets in franchise history, as I wrote about over the winter. As David Capobianco said, Nimmo stuck around, and that’s something worth celebrating and appreciating.

Going into 2023, Nimmo will look to do Nimmo things, just as he did in 2022. More than anything, his proclivity for getting on base is his strongest asset and the main reason he received a big payday despite never being an All Star. It’s a big reason why the Mets’ offense was so potent last year, as Nimmo became the tablesetter ahead of Marte, Lindor, and Pete Alonso. Despite some injury concerns in the past, Nimmo has shown that he can be an impactful player when healthy, and he’ll be looking to build on that in the upcoming season.

Nimmo also continues to improve his defense and has established himself as a dependable center fielder. He finished 2022 with a 6 OAA, the best of his career, and he showcased excellent range and a great jump on tracking down fly balls, even if his arm remains a weak spot. The highlight remains this home-run saving catch he made against the Dodgers, and there is never a bad time to revisit this terrific moment.

There are many uncertainties in life, but one thing that has remained certain for the better part of the past decade is that, when Opening Day rolled around, Nimmo would be leading the charge at the top of the Mets’ lineup. With his big offseason payday, the Mets have ensured that fans can expect Nimmo’s name to be called first when the Mets take their first turns at bat at Citi Field, and that’s a wonderful thing, for the franchise and its supporters. Expect a lot of quick springs to first base on walks and lots of smiles all around; Nimmo has been a fan favorite for years, known for his infectious energy, patient approach at the plate, and impressive on-base skills, and he’s here to make fans happy for eight more years.