The Miami Marlins season is all but over in terms of play on the field, so it is time to start looking a bit ahead towards the offseason and free-agent targets. Piggybacking off of Louis Addeo-Weiss's article in which he wrote about the fit of Trea Turner in Miami, we are going to get into the possibility of Brandon Nimmo.
Looking at past seasons, Nimmo has had some durability issues. This season is his first time playing over 100 games since 2018, and he has been one of the better hitters on a Mets team that will be in the playoffs fighting for a spot in the World Series. Nimmo ranks 6th on the Mets in BA, 5th in HR, 7th in RBIs, 2nd in runs scored, 3rd in OBP, 5th in SLG, and 6th in OPS. It is fair to say that Nimmo would be the most productive position player on the Marlins roster in 2022.
Nimmo would also fit right in with the Marlins because of what he offers defensively. He is exclusively playing center field this season with a personal-best 6 Outs Above Average (ranks 93rd percentile in MLB, according to Baseball Savant). He has played 348 career games in CF. His presence on the Marlins would allow Jorge Soler to go to the everyday DH role, opening up more opportunities for young corner outfielders like JJ Bleday.
Just from watching Nimmo, many of you might not consider him to be a special athlete, but the numbers back it up. In the play highlighted below, Nimmo had a sprint speed of 27.3 feet per second, covered 67 feet (only needed to cover 64), and had 4.1 seconds to make that catch.
Another big issue for the 2022 Marlins has been capitalizing with runners on base or in scoring position. Nimmo has been “clutch” for the Mets this season in various scenarios. With 2 outs and RISP, Nimmo has been slashing .286/.375/.486/.861 with 1 homer and 13 RBIs. Nimmo would also bring balance to a Marlins order that has lacked quality lefty bats when Jazz Chisholm Jr. has been injured.
After detailing the positives of bringing in a player of Brandon Nimmo’s caliber, let’s look into some reasons for concern.
Nimmo has dealt with a lot of IL stints throughout his career, including a partially collapsed lung, multiple hamstring strains, stiff neck and bruised finger. Since 2017, he only ranks 57th among MLB outfielders with 542 games played. As talented as he is, it limits his impact when he’s unable to play.
Nimmo’s stats at LoanDepot Park aren’t exactly the best. He is slashing .255/.333/.443/.777 with 4 home runs and 15 RBIs for his career. The Marlins have been burned repeatedly by signing free agent hitters who struggle with the transition to Miami, with Avisaíl García being the most recent example.
The Mets will be back to play one more series against the Marlins in September, so Nimmo has another opportunity to add to those numbers.
The Final Decision
The Marlins should go after a player like Brandon Nimmo. He would be an everyday player who addresses their need for a center fielder, improving the team with his bat, his glove and his intangibles. Turning 30 years old in March, Nimmo is still in the prime of his career.
Is this a realistic possibility for the Marlins? The Mets will do whatever they can to keep the guys that they want, so Nimmo won’t come cheaply. Miami paid $53 million to García on a 4-year deal last offseason, but Nimmo is a better overall player who will ask for more than that in terms of both years and annual salary. The negotiations would be a big test of how much Bruce Sherman is committed to building a winner.