The Mets are "not particularly enthusiastic" about trading OF Brandon Nimmo in exchange for INF/OF Josh Harrison of the Pirates, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post.
While the Mets have engaged the Pirates in talks for Harrison, talks are not ongoing, Puma also reported on Wednesday. The Mets believe the asking price is not consistent with Harrison's contract, according to Puma.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had reported on Tuesday that the Mets have seen Nimmo as a centerpiece in a deal for Harrison, who said he'd prefer to be traded if the Pirates will not compete in the next two seasons.
The Mets rebuffed the Pirates' request of Nimmo in a potential deal for Andrew McCutchen, according to Rosenthal, who did not specify who else the potential deal included or if the Pirates were willing to eat part of the money owed to McCutchen.
Even after signing Jay Bruce, the Mets were still interested in acquiring McCutchen, who the Pirates traded to the Giants on Monday along with $2.5 million for RHP Kyle Crick, minor league outfielder Bryan Reynolds, and $500,000 in international signing bonus pool money.
Nimmo, 24, hit .260/.379/.418 with five HR in 69 games for the Mets in 2017. With Michael Conforto not expected to be ready in time for Opening Day, the expectation as of now is that Nimmo will be on the 25-man roster along with Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares, and Bruce.
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While acquiring McCutchen would've been a splashier move, Harrison is a better fit for the Mets -- and is under team control for three more seasons (with McCutchen set to be a free agent after this season). So, if the Mets truly think they can build a deal for Harrison around Nimmo, it will be hard to not pull the trigger.
Yes, there are other infield options on the free agent market. But there are issues that come with signing each of them. Todd Frazier would necessitate moving Asdrubal Cabrera to second base, where he's a poor defender. Eduardo Nunez is a poor defender himself. Neil Walker has dealt with back issues. And Jose Reyes is a bench piece at this point in his career.
Dealing Nimmo for Harrison would also allow the Mets to keep Juan Lagares, who would likely be the center fielder on Opening Day, and can serve as a valuable fourth outfielder who gets plenty of playing time once Michael Conforto returns -- helping to keep Conforto, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jay Bruce fresh.
With Harrison, the Mets would be getting a solid offensive player who gives them speed and an above-average glove at second base (and third base if they choose to ever use him there). Harrison can also play both corner outfield positions. Depending on what else the Pirates are asking for in a deal, it may be time for the Mets to finally add the second baseman they've been looking for all offseason.