The New York Mets held onto Brandon Nimmo and still got an outfielder, but need to pull the trigger on Josh Harrison.
The New York Mets need a second baseman. Currently, Asdrubal Cabrera will start at second with Wilmer Flores playing third base, according to the projected lineup that ESNY’s Nicholas Santuccio put together. Flores is great against left-handed pitching, but his defense is questionable and he has struggled against righties in the past.
The ideal solution for the team would be to get another second baseman and move Cabrera to third base, pushing Flores to a utility role where he can spell starters against lefties. The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to trade Josh Harrison, their second baseman who is coming off of his second All-Star Game appearance. He has hit at least .270 for each of the last two seasons and has hit .281 for his career. He’s also stolen 72 bases over his seven-year career, an area the Mets have struggled with in recent years.
Harrison would clearly help the Mets. He’d shore up the middle of the infield with young stud shortstop Amed Rosario, as well as adding his hitting prowess. In addition, the Mets have a player that the Pirates want in Brandon Nimmo.
The Mets have been linked to Harrison all offseason, so it made sense to think that they were holding onto Nimmo to get him. There were outfielders galore on the free agent market, and they landed Jay Bruce after all was said and done.
However, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter that the Mets are not excited about the idea of moving Nimmo for Harrison. There are multiple suitors for Harrison, so it’s interesting that the Mets are seemingly unwilling to trade Nimmo.
Hearing the Mets aren't particularly enthusiastic about trading Nimmo for Harrison; Mets believe the asking price should be less given Harrison's contract.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) January 17, 2018
Nimmo is a young player with the potential to become a good starting outfielder in the majors. But there’s no reason for the Mets to insist on keeping him. Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto are all ahead of him on the depth chart, as well as being under team control for three or more seasons.
Nimmo will struggle to get playing time in a crowded outfield, more so when defensive specialist Juan Lagares is added to the mix. Sitting on the bench for three years as the fourth-or-fifth outfielder doesn’t help a young player develop.
At his peak, he’ll never pass Cespedes or Conforto. They’re both special players that can only be replaced by few ballplayers. Bruce is a great left-handed power bat who has shown he can handle New York. Thus, Nimmo is unlikely to ever see the field enough to develop into a starter in New York. But still, the Mets seemingly won’t trade him.
Teams are often reluctant to trade their young talent. They’re afraid of selling too early and not getting equal value for that player. It’s an understandable fear, and building through youth is how teams create and sustain success.
That said, there are situations where selling on a young player makes sense. Getting a two-time All-Star who is under team control through 2020 at a position of need for a package centered around a player who, if he becomes a starter, won’t do it with the Mets due to their loaded outfield, is one of those situations.
Nimmo’s value is high right now (at least in the minds of Pirates’ executives), and there’s no path for him to start. Sandy Alderson has a chance to use Nimmo to get an All-Star at a position of need. He needs to take advantage of this rare opportunity.