Mets, Brandon Nimmo agree to an eight-year, $162 million contract
The Mets were able to retain a linchpin for their roster in 2023 and beyond
The Mets checked a big box off their holiday wish list and kept to their off-season blueprint on Friday night, striking a deal with Brandon Nimmo on an eight-year, $162 million contract.
Nimmo will earn an average of $20.25 million per season and the deal will take him through his age-37 season.
The Mets drafted Nimmo with their first selection in the 2011 June amateur draft, the 13th overall selection that year. He was Sandy Alderson’s first draft pick after taking over as the club’s general manager following the 2010 season.
Nimmo, who will turn 30 in March, made his debut with the Mets in 2016, immediately demonstrating a mature knowledge of the strike zone and elite plate discipline. He posted a .338 on-base percentage down the stretch of the 2016 season, helping the Mets win a Wild Card that year. He has posted a .387 on-base percentage for the Mets since 2017, and while he has battled a variety of injuries over the course of his career, has continued to demonstrate he is one of the game’s elite leadoff hitters, posting a .387 on-base percentage with 317 walks and a 132 OPS+ since the start of the 2017 season.
Nimmo has swung at just 21.8 percent of pitches outside the strike zone throughout his career. He is a lifetime .269/.385/.441 hitter over seven big league seasons.
In addition to his skills at the plate, Nimmo’s defense has steadily improved over the last couple of years. He posted -3 DRS in center field in 2022 but that is due in large measure to his below average arm. He has otherwise demonstrated improved range thanks in part to playing a deeper center field.
Retaining Nimmo - who had said on numerous occasions he wanted to remain with the Mets - was one of the club’s top priorities heading into the off-season and linchpins for the 2023 season. Without Nimmo, the Mets would’ve been forced to either trade for an alternative or go with an internal tandem of Starling Marte and Mark Canha in centerfield, neither of which is ideal as they are both more valuable and effective in corner outfield spots on an everyday basis.
For Marte specifically, he is entering his age-34 season and is coming off core muscle surgery, making it more complicated to have him in center field on a regular basis.
The Mets had reportedly checked in with Andrew Benintendi as a possible roster replacement to Nimmo in case Nimmo had departed, but Benintendi would not have provided a solution in center field. The Mets had also looked into signing Kevin Kiermaier, but he profiles strictly as a defense-first option for center field.
In the end, the Mets were able retain a popular, homegrown talent possibly for the rest of his career.