Brandon Nimmo New York Mets
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First, there was #FreeRosario. Next came #FreeDomSmith. The time has come for fans of the New York Mets to adopt a new hashtag: #FreeNimmo.

Brandon Nimmo hasn’t started a game since the New York Mets activated him from the disabled list on July 28. He’s made a total of seven plate appearances—yes, seven—over the past three weeks.

If you forgot that he was actually in the big leagues, and not shagging fly balls for Triple-A Las Vegas, nobody would blame you. Because it sure feels, and looks, like the Mets have. Unless you count the team giving him a Coke as acknowledgment of one’s existence.

Now I’m sure that there’s someone, somewhere, who can spin seven plate appearances over a three-week span into a good thing. Well good for you, pal. Because what the Mets are doing to Nimmo is downright criminal.

It’s not as if Nimmo came into the season with a ton of major league experience. He picked up 80 plate appearances over 32 games in 2016, hitting .274 with a .666 OPS. That’s it.

But having spent parts of three seasons in Triple-A, he doesn’t have much left to prove against minor league pitching. The only way for his development to continue—and for the Mets to find out if he’s part of their future—is for him to play.

But things are going to have to change, first.

Manager Terry Collins has already gone on record stating that Michael Conforto isn’t a center fielder.

“I think he actually will end up fitting better on the sides,” Collins told Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News in mid-July. “But right now, he’s worked so hard at seeing balls off the bat and getting jumps that he can play out there if you have to. But I think when this guy becomes a star in this league, which he’s destined to become, you’re gonna end up seeing him at one of the wings, probably.”

With Wednesday night’s trade of Jay Bruce to Cleveland, one of those wings just opened up. For as much as we love Curtis Granderson, he can’t be the reason Conforto remains Nimmo’s biggest obstacle.

Contenders know what they’re getting with Granderson. You can spare the whole ‘He has to play to raise his trade value’ schpiel. It’s rubbish. He’s already hinted at retirement. He’s not a part of the future. The Grandyman needs to sit.

Nimmo isn’t retiring. He could be a part of the future. We all know Conforto is a left fielder, not a right fielder, but Yoenis Cespedes isn’t moving. So why wait to get him acclimated to a position he’s ultimately going to play?

The rest of the 2017 season is about seeing where things stand heading into the offseason. Amed Rosario is getting his reps. Dominic Smith will start to get his Friday night in Philadelphia. What are the Mets waiting for with Nimmo?

Not only could he be the team’s center fielder of the future, but he could solve their leadoff issues. Conforto is simply too damn good to be hitting leadoff. He’s a No. 3 hitter. You need his bat coming to the plate with runners on base, not after the pitcher.

In parts of three Triple-A seasons, Nimmo got on base at a 40 percent clip. He owns a nearly 14 percent walk rate over parts of seven minor league seasons. Yet he’s gotten a total of 18 big league plate appearances atop the lineup.

Nobody’s saying that Nimmo is a five-tool player or a future All-Star. He’s definitely not the former, and odds are he’s probably not the latter. But that’s just it—nobody knows exactly what Nimmo is.

Isn’t it time the Mets find out? #FreeNimmo.

I've been dunked on by Shaq and yelled at by Mickey Mantle. ESNY Editor In Chief. UMass alum. Former National Columnist w/Bleacher Report & former member of NY Knicks Basketball Ops department. Nephew of Rock & Roll Royalty.