So far this offseason, the Blue Jays have had a slow start out of the gate. While they made headlines earlier this year with the Teoscar Hernández trade, the front office stayed quiet during the Winter Meetings and another potential free agent target is now off the board as well.
According to Jeff Passan
at ESPN, centre fielder Brandon Nimmo
has re-signed with the New York Mets on an 8-year, $162 million dollar contract. After AL MVP Aaron Judge, Nimmo was one of the top outfielders on the free agent market this winter and had been tied to the Blue Jays for most of the offseason as one of their main targets.
Nimmo checked off a lot of boxes the Blue Jays were looking for.
A lefty-batter who can play centre field, adding Nimmo would have been a slam dunk to a right-handed heavy lineup that would have likely moved George Springer to right field, hopefully addressing injury concerns over the long term. Last season, the Wyoming product slashed .274/.367/.433 with seven triples, 16 home runs, and a .800 OPS while working as the Mets’ leadoff batter. He earned a career-high 5.1 bWAR and amassed a -3 bDRS in centre field with a 90th percentile Outs Above Average, adding four assists while not committing an error through 151 games.
Another Blue Jays offseason target is off the board as centre fielder Brandon Nimmo reportedly signed an 8-year deal to return to the New York Mets.
With Nimmo, the Mets will get back their starting centre fielder who rarely chases balls outside the strike zone, sitting in the 91st percentile in Chase Rate and striking out only 17.2% of the time at the plate last year.
Mets owner Steve Cohen is paying a hefty price to bring back the 29-year-old, as the club’s payroll continues to grow, as they also added reliever David Robertson shortly after the Nimmo signing news.
While disappointing, I can see why the Blue Jays were unlikely to top an eight-year deal put forward like the Mets did, with long-term deals being the norm this offseason. If the Jays are still looking for outfield help via free agency, they will likely have to pivot to Andrew Benintendi, Kevin Kiermaier, Michael Conforto, or Joey Gallo unless they prefer the trade route, looking at teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs as potential suitors for the Blue Jays catching depth and their most valuable trade assets.