Brandon Nimmo is currently the odd-man out due to the return of Michael Conforto, and while he wants to be starting, he said the Mets' current outfield glut is a "great problem to have."
"I am a competitor, so I want to be out there," Nimmo said Thursday, according to Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News. "But I also want this team to win, whatever they feel like is best to win, if that's me coming off the bench, if that's me starting that day, then that's what I am gonna do. I definitely want to succeed in whatever they ask me to do, so I am going to work hard and do that."
In Conforto's first game back (where he slammed a two-run homer off Stephen Strasburg), he started in center field, flanked by Yoenis Cespedes in left field and Jay Bruce in right field. Nimmo came off the bench to pinch-hit in the seventh inning and roped a double off the right field wall in the Mets' four-run inning that broke the game open.
"Honestly, if I step back from the personal perspective and I look at it from a team perspective, this is a great problem to have," Nimmo said. "We have five outfielders who can play on an everyday basis, that's an amazing place to be when you are a team. We're really happy. As long as we're winning, we're all going to be pretty happy around here, so I am just going to try and help out."
After hitting .260/.379/.418 with five HR in 215 plate appearances in 2017, Nimmo has gone 3-for-8 with three walks in 13 plate appearances so far in 2018.
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Nimmo is right that the Mets' current outfield depth is a great problem to have. But it also isn't one they need to have.
It's been said before, but unless Adrian Gonzalez rediscovers his power stroke, the Mets' best configuration has Nimmo, Conforto, Cespedes, and Bruce in the lineup at the same time. And the only way to do that is by moving someone to the infield. And that person should be Bruce, who can move to first base.
The Mets didn't give Bruce any reps at first base during Spring Training, which Keith Hernandez took issue with Thursday on SNY while discussing the conundrum the team is currently dealing with.
Bruce said last week that he wasn't even thinking about the potential of playing first base this season, but GM Sandy Alderson said a few days before that Bruce could play first base on a "reasonably every day basis" if it came to it. And it just might come to it. After having not played first base since 2014, Bruce graded out as average in 91 innings at the position in 2017.
The Mets have done a great job so far utilizing their bullpen and structuring their lineup in a way that maximizes their talent. In that vein, shifting Bruce to first base to make room for Nimmo in the outfield would simply be the next step in that process.