Officially a free agent once the World Series ends, Brandon Nimmo’s seven-year run with the New York Mets may have come to an end. If Nimmo leaves this offseason, however, the Mets could have an internal plan to fill his position in center field.
Do the New York Mets have an internal backup plan if Brandon Nimmo leaves in free agency?
Expected to be one of the more coveted outfielders this offseason, Nimmo will have plenty of suitors along with the New York Mets for his services in 2023 and beyond. Coming off a season where he slashed .274/.367/.433 with 16 home runs and 64 RBI, the 29-year-old Nimmo also logged a career-high 6 Outs Above Average in center field, anchoring New York’s outfield defense.
So what will New York do in center field if Nimmo leaves? If the Mets do not pursue Aaron Judge or another free agent outfielder, Mets general manager Billy Eppler recently told The New York Post that Starling Marte could slide over from right field to center to fill the position.
“Can Starling still play center field? We believe he can,” Eppler said. “That opens up some optionality for how ultimately we would fill out that outfield.”
You can hear the entire sound bite on Marte’s potential in center field below.
Marte played just 5.0 innings in center field last season for the Mets, spending the vast majority of his time in right. The 34-year-old Marte, however, primarily played center field for the Miami Marlins and Oakland A’s in 2021, combining to post zero Outs Above Average.
Inserting Marte into center field in place of Nimmo would likely statistically lower New York’s overall outfield defense, a metric that Eppler said was important to the franchise and manager Buck Showalter.
While Marte could play center field, it’s likely the Mets would want to fill the position from outside the organization should Nimmo choose to leave. Sure, the Mets have an option to fill center field with Marte, but it’s likely not the option to team will want as they try to move past a disappointing end to the 2022 season.