Folks, free-agent center fielder Brandon Nimmo is a popular man these days. It’s not a shocking development, though. After posting a 5.4-fWAR campaign with the Mets, he entered the open market as the clear-cut best option at his position.
There are plenty of teams not named the Mets who could also use Nimmo’s services in the outfield and at the top of the lineup. Teams like the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, and San Francisco Giants (if they don’t sign Aaron Judge) are just a few that have been connected to Nimmo. His market expanded this week when the Toronto Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernandez to the Mariners.
With what’s looking like a robust market, agent Scott Boras will surely do what he can to create a bidding war to ultimately drive up his client’s price. We’ve seen some contract predictions from various outlets on Nimmo leading up to this point in free agency, too.
But according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, that number is likely going to be higher. He recently appeared on the J.D. Bunkis Podcast on the Fan 590 this week and provided a comp for Nimmo (the below was transcribed by Andrew Stoeten of The Bat Flip):
I went into it thinking, OK, he’s going to get, like, $80 million. And then I was told, ‘No, no, no, no, it’s going to be nine figures.’ And I was like, $100 million? And he was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. Keep going.” $125 million? ‘Nope.’ You know?
The Shin-Soo Choo deal, which was six years and $130 or so million, is the place where I’ve landed after talking to people, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it goes higher than that.
Given his set of skills, the lack of other free-agent outfielders like him, and the robust market that’s already forming, it’s not shocking to hear bidding will be starting at the above numbers. It’s also not shocking to hear it’s likely to go higher.
My thought is Boras is trying to get Nimmo’s next contract into Jacoby Ellsbury territory. In case you forgot what the Yankees paid the former Red Sox outfielder, it was a seven-year, $153 million deal ahead of the 2014 season.
How high is too high in the Mets’ pursuit of Nimmo, though? After all, he plays a physically demanding position along with being a top-of-the-order offensive contributor. He’ll also be 30 years old once Opening Day rolls around, so there are many things to consider here.
But when thinking about how important Nimmo has been to the Mets both in the field and in the batter’s box, I’ve always thought they’d be OK with overpaying to re-sign him. How much of an overpay would they be comfortable doing, though? If it goes far beyond the $150 million number, it might be time for New York to start thinking about alternatives.
The Mets can certainly afford whatever the numbers end up at for Nimmo, but they have to fill out a whole roster. As much as some may want New York to just toss money around like it’s nothing, there will be other considerations. They’ll throw it around when it’s deemed absolutely necessary, though.