Everyone knows that Aaron Judge is the biggest name free agent available. It’s going to cost a lot to get him… like, A LOT. It sounds like he’s sticking either in Ney York with the Yankees or Mets or going back home to play in San Francisco. If one of those happens and the Mariners aren’t able to get him, they could look to the other New York team and try and sign the former Mets OF, Brandon Nimmo.
Nimmo is nowhere near the threat that Judge is, but few players in baseball are. He’s still a great player though, and likely is one of the top 8-10 free agents available this year, and the second-best non-SS offensive player available. As a left-handed corner outfielder, he is exactly what the Mariners could be looking for to push their lineup into contention.
The Mariners should look to sign Brandon Nimmo for a corner outfield spot
This is going to be his age-30 season, so Nimmo is going to be looking for one of those big/life-altering deals, and rightfully so. He put up the best season of his career in 2022 and capped off what has been a strong three-year stretch. Check out his numbers from 2022, as well as some stats from the prior three years combined
- 2022 – .274/.367/.433, 16 HR, 30 2B, 102 R, 130 OPS+, 17.2% K rate, 5.1 WAR
- 20/21/22 – .281/.384/.443, 133 OPS+, 13.6 WAR
I did multiply his 2020 WAR by 2.7, as that gets it to a full season. Nimmo would be an incredible addition to the top of any lineup, whether it’s in the leadoff spot or two spot. He gets on base a ton, scores runs, and has speed that translates more to running the bases than it does stealing them.
He’s never had an OPS+ under 111 outside of his rookie year and has four seasons of 130 or higher. He’s incredibly consistent too when you look at his OPS, tallying numbers of .797, 886, .783, .888, .838, and .800. This was one of the few seasons where he had the combination of staying healthy and the chance to start all season, and it led to the highest WAR season of his career.
I think signing him to a corner OF spot might even make him better. He played solid defense in center for the Mets in 2022, but the Mariners already have that spot locked down for the next decade+. Normally, your top outfield defender ends up in center. Having a second center fielder move over to a corner spot would be a nice boon to have, and a massive upgrade for the Mariners to have a great bat and great defender in LF at the same time.
You throw Nimmo in LF or RF, put him at the top of the order with France, Julio, Suarez, and hopefully another big bat behind him? You could be looking at a 1.0 dWAR with a total of 5-6 WAR and 110 R, with a .280/.370/.450 slash line. He’s always had a good BABIP, consistently hits the ball about 89 mph, and does a great job squaring the ball up and hitting it up the middle.
He’s not going to be cheap though. Reports have Nimmo looking for a five-year deal, worth around 22-25 a year. The Mariners look more attractive than they have in decades for free agents, but are going to have to pay about market price instead of overpaying to get a big name free agent to come to town.
The Mariners should sign Brandon Nimmo to a 5YR/$112.5 contract
Getting someone like Nimmo would be a massive win for the Mariners, and a great step toward strengthening this lineup enough to be a playoff-worthy threat. If Nimmo is interested in coming to Seattle, it’s definitely something that Dipoto and crew should agree to.