The New York Mets have agreed to an eight-year, $162 million deal with center fielder Brandon Nimmo, according to multiple reports on Thursday.
Retaining Nimmo was vital to keep one of the foundations of the Mets intact as the 29-year-old has developed into one of the top players at his position this season, which made his market a robust one this offseason in free agency.
The Wyoming native is coming off one of the best seasons of his seven-year career, batting .274 with an .800 OPS to go with a career-high 16 home runs and 64 RBI while leading the league with seven triples. His defense also continued to take significant steps forward.
While it also drove up his price, the Mets weren’t left with much of a choice to play that game. The center-field free-agent market experienced a significant drop-off that would’ve forecasted a severe regression in the Mets’ outfield — whether that was signing a lesser center fielder or signing another corner outfielder and shifting the veteran Starling Marte to center.
Manager Buck Showalter certainly seemed to understand that when he was asked about Nimmo last month.
“He’s grown as a player and a guy that you can count on and I hope it’s here,” Showalter said. “He’s the type of guy you pull for. You love to see him have his whole career here. We’ll just see how the industry and his group… feel like that’s in the cards.”
While the sizable contract now puts the Mets’ payroll well over $300 million — highest in MLB — their outfield is one less thing that they need to worry about.