Nimmo staying with Mets, signs 8-year deal

December 10th, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- 's personality is built upon an "aw, shucks" demeanor, the type he first showed New York when he signed with the Mets as an 18-year-old, first-round Draft pick more than a decade ago.

Over the years, Nimmo grew as both a person and a player, but he never lost that outward innocence -- the type that prompted many Mets fans to assume a certain sense of loyalty when Nimmo began to explore free agency last month.

Nimmo made good on his reputation, as the club announced Saturday that he has signed an eight-year contract that will keep him a Met for most if not all of his career. According to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal, it's a $162 million contract.

The Mets also bolstered their bullpen on Friday night with a one-year, $10 million contract for reliever .

The Mets' first-round Draft pick in 2011, Nimmo has spent his entire professional life in the organization, hitting .269/.385/.441 with 63 homers and 213 RBIs over 608 Major League games.

The 29-year-old appeared in a career-high 151 games this past season and produced 5.1 WAR (per Baseball-Reference), posting a .274/.367/.433 slash with 16 homers and 102 runs scored. He was the Mets' unquestioned leadoff hitter.

It marked just the second time in seven seasons (including the shortened 2020 season) that Nimmo reached 100 games played. Despite his first-round Draft pedigree, he didn’t break in as a consistent starter for the Mets until 2018 and battled frequent injuries prior to ’22.

"He had a good physical year where he, for whatever reason, he seemed to get through a lot of things that have been a challenge in the past, that didn't snowball into something where he had to sit out a lot of games," Mets manager Buck Showalter said this week at the Winter Meetings. "So that was good to see. He answered some questions there. He's capable of it."

Over the past five seasons, Nimmo is tied for 16th among Major Leaguers (min. 2,000 plate appearances) with a 134 OPS+. The only regular center fielder in that group with a better OPS+ than Nimmo? Angels superstar Mike Trout, who is also one of only five players with a higher on-base percentage than Nimmo over that stretch.

The Cheyenne, Wyo., native’s journey to the Majors was an unlikely one considering he didn’t even play high school baseball, with Wyoming being one of the only states that doesn’t offer it. After rising to prominence as a prospect while playing American Legion Baseball and appearing in other amateur showcase events, Nimmo became the first Wyoming native to be selected in the first round of the MLB Draft.

Nimmo bounced around the outfield early in his career, but he has turned into a capable defender in center, to the point where the Mets were comfortable moving veteran Starling Marte to right field full-time after signing him to a four-year, $78 million contract last offseason.

Nimmo made all 151 of his appearances in center field during 2022, and his 6 outs above average tied him for 11th at the position (out of 46 qualifiers).

"Brandon got better every year he played," Showalter said. "He improved."

Now, the Mets intend to keep Nimmo as one of the centerpieces of their offense. Unlike pitcher Jacob deGrom, who spent his introductory news conference in Texas on Thursday explaining why he chose the Rangers over the Mets, Nimmo remained loyal to the organization that drafted and developed him. He is the longest-tenured Met by far, and the last remaining link to a previous, less gilded era of Mets baseball.

It is the Mets' hope that he can be part of its most spectacular era, as well. Already this offseason, Steve Cohen's Mets have spent close to half a billion dollars on Edwin Díaz, Justin Verlander, José Quintana, Nimmo and Robertson, the latter a veteran reliever who started his career in the Bronx more than a decade ago. And additional improvements could still occur as the Mets look to move past deGrom and into an even brighter future.

The deal for Nimmo is reminiscent of one that David Wright signed in 2013 to remain a Met for life. Shortly after Wright inked that contract, the Mets named him the fourth captain in franchise history.

Reached late Thursday via text message, Showalter did not commit to naming Nimmo captain, but added: "He'd be a consideration on a short list if so inclined."