Another day, another injury report for the Mets. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo is set to miss some time after leaving Friday’s Spring Training game against the Marlins, putting his availability for Opening in serious jeopardy. Should the Mets be without Nimmo to start the season, New York will either need to rely on one of its starters to shift over, or turn to an unfamiliar face to start the season.
A Look at Nimmo
The Mets opted to pay Brandon Nimmo like a star this past winter, after the 30-year-old posted a career year last season. Nimmo hit .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs, 53 extra base hits, 64 RBIs, and 102 runs scored. The Mets outfielder finished the 2022 campaign sixth in the league in runs scored, and his .367 OBP ranked in the top 20 of the league (min. 450 PA).
That ability to get on base played a major role for the Mets last season, a team that was among the league-leaders in total offense and saw 100+ RBI campaigns from both Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor.
Durability has largely been a question mark for Nimmo. The 30-year-old played a career-high 151 games with the Mets in 2022, only the second time that he played more than 100 games in a season. But, he stayed healthy for all of 2022 — and it paid off in a big way. However, it looks the Mets may be without the center field when New York begins the 2023 campaign in Miami.
Per GM Billy Eppler, Nimmo will be out week-to-week with knee and ankle sprains. This injury comes just days after the Mets lost star closer Edwin Diaz for likely the entire 2023 season due to a torn patellar tendon.
What it Means
With Nimmo out, the Mets don’t have a lot of particularly great options to replace his impact. For one, no one on the Mets bench can replace his keen eye and ability to get on-base. On top of that, no reserve possesses the speed and range that Nimmo has in his bag of tricks.
As things stand right now, new Mets outfielder Tommy Pham seems to be a good bet to receive time in center field. Primarily a left field throughout his career, Pham does have 209 games of experience at the position. Most recently, he played 11 games out in center for the Padres in 2021. The 35-year-old still showcased good speed and arm strength last season per Baseball Savant, but posted a poor Outs Above Average (-6) out in left.
Other options include regular left fielder Mark Canha and Starling Marte. Marte would be an interesting replacement, as the Mets right fielder has over 500 games of experience at the position. But, will the Mets want to push Marte, who’s coming off groin surgery this past offseason, back out to center again? It’s not ideal from a Mets perspective, but it’s possible.
In addition to those three, speedy utilityman Tim Locastro is another possibility.