New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo produced a .263/.404/.483 line over 140 games in 2018, resulting in a 149 wRC+ and a 4.5 fWAR. Simply put, he was easily one of the most productive and underrated hitters in baseball. Nimmo has missed most of the 2019 season due to a neck injury, but has recorded a .377 on-base percentage in his 59 games played. A left-handed hitter and capable defender at all outfield positions, Nimmo is a player who would fit perfectly with the White Sox.
Why should the White Sox pursue Nimmo?
Brandon Nimmo provides a lot of what the White Sox are missing: he is a left-handed bat, a competent outfield defender, an extremely patient hitter, an on-base machine, and a solid right fielder. I have been working on my offseason overview for potential White Sox trade/free agency targets, and while there are many potential acquisitions for right field, none of them check as many boxes as Nimmo. The questions, of course, are whether the Mets would trade him, and at what cost.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 9, 2019
Why would the Mets trade Nimmo?
The Mets, much unlike the White Sox, are loaded with left-handed hitting corner outfielders. Michael Conforto has a better track record than Nimmo, and he also may find himself in trade talks this offseason. Jeff McNeil plays all over the diamond, but is another all-star who spends a lot of time in the corner outfield spots. Dom Smith is still an intriguing prospect as a hitter, and the emergence of Pete Alonso has relegated him to a corner outfield/pinch hit role. And while he is not a lefty, J.D. Davis has been an exceptional hitter who often plays in left field.
The Mets may be forced to trade at least one of the above players this offseason, and the most obvious candidates for a trade are Conforto, controlled through the 2021 season, and Nimmo, who is controlled through the 2022 campaign.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 18, 2019
What might Nimmo cost?
Having too many good players has never hurt a team before, so the Mets would still need to have a reason to trade away three seasons of Nimmo this winter. The challenge the White Sox will face in trade talks is that trading for controllable players is difficult when there is such a steep drop-off between your untouchable prospects (Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, and Nick Madrigal) and your depth pieces.
The good news, however, is that the Mets have an unconventional front office and have made some weird trades lately. A trade for Nimmo, whose lack of durability may somewhat hinder his market, is at least a possibility for the White Sox. Here’s what I would propose:
White Sox receive: OF Brandon Nimmo (controlled through 2022 season), the contract of OF Yoenis Cespedes (expires after 2020 season), and cash
I feel like this is a trade proposal that both fanbases will dislike. For White Sox fans who have grown attached to Stiever, I understand that trading from limited minor league starting pitching depth may be frightening, but the Sox would simply need somebody to headline this deal, and Steele Walker — yet another left-handed hitting outfielder — does not make sense for the Mets, nor does Gavin Sheets, who is limited to first base. The Sox would be selling high on Stiever, something they have not often done with prospects. Regardless, the timing of such a move is a necessary step for a rebuild.
The Mets would be hoping that Basabe returns to form following an injury-plagued season. Medeiros was also very good following his move to the bullpen during the 2019 season. While the package may seem light for three years of Nimmo, Stiever is a borderline top-100 prospect, and the Mets’ propensity for strange trades could be exploited by the White Sox. It’s unclear as to whether Yoenis Cespedes will even play in 2020, but he has $29.5 million remaining on his contract. The White Sox would not pay all of this, which is why they would also receive cash. (Yes, they probably would not take the contract in the first place, but let me dream!)
If the White Sox could pull off such a trade, their only hole on offense (assuming promotions to Robert and Madrigal) would be at designated hitter, for which the team will likely have to peruse the free agent market. Luckily, there are some good options available.
Brandon Nimmo is not the only left-handed hitting right fielder the White Sox can trade for this winter, and I will discuss some others in my aforementioned offseason overview. He is, however, a perfect fit for the White Sox and is controlled for three more seasons. If the Mets begin to sell some pieces, the White Sox should absolutely call them about Nimmo.
Featured Photo: @Mets (Twitter)