Rays Interested In Brandon Nimmo

In a market skinny on heart area assist, Brandon Nimmo has naturally drawn plenty of curiosity on the free agent market. Many of baseball’s greater spenders have been linked to the previous Mets standout, however in response to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the low-payroll Rays are additionally a reasonably shocking suitor for Nimmo’s providers.

MLBTR projected Nimmo for a five-year, $110MM deal this winter, which might characterize far and away the biggest contract the Rays have ever given to a free agent. It would additionally characterize the franchise’s second-largest expenditure on any contract, behind solely Wander Franco‘s 11-year, $182MM extension. Since Nimmo rejected the Mets’ qualifying provide, Tampa Bay would even have to surrender their third-highest decide within the 2023 draft as compensation for signing the outfielder — no small penalty for a membership that depends on constructing from inside.

In brief, it might rely as an actual stunner if the Rays received the bidding for one of many winter’s most sought-after free brokers. However, it’s price noting that we’re solely a couple of 12 months faraway from the Rays’ reported provide to Freddie Freeman, one other big-ticket identify on the open market. Between the Freeman provide and the Franco extension, there have been some hints out of Tampa Bay that the Rays are ready to stretch their price range (by their requirements) with the intention to seize that elusive championship. The Rays have reached the postseason in every of the final 4 years and made it so far as the World Series in 2020, however fell brief to the Dodgers in six video games.

Assuming Nimmo did signal for round $22MM in common annual worth, such a deal would take Tampa Bay’s payroll into a brand new stratosphere, though the crew has already damaged a few of their very own monetary benchmarks. As per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the Rays’ Opening Day payroll in 2022 was simply shy of $83.9MM, a brand new membership file. Roster Resource tasks Tampa for a 2023 payroll of roughly $67.7MM, and that quantity consists of the projected salaries of a still-large class of arbitration-eligible gamers.

The Rays have already parted methods with some arb-eligibles (ie Ji-Man Choi, Ryan Yarbrough) to avoid wasting {dollars}, and any variety of different artistic trades may nonetheless be potential to additional shed payroll. Tampa may proceed to buy extra members of their arbitration class, or the crew may look into transferring gamers on assured contracts. Franco is not going anyplace, however any of Manuel Margot, Brooks Raley, Tyler Glasnowand even Brandon Lowe could possibly be believable commerce chips.

Moving a longtime participant to herald a dearer participant like Nimmo could be an uncharacteristic transfer for the Rays, but it may make sense on this circumstance. Nimmo would basically be Margot’s substitute within the outfield, and Raley or Glasnow could possibly be changed by one of many many younger arms from Tampa’s seemingly countless pitching pipeline. The Rays already did properly with out Lowe for a lot of the 2022 season, as Lowe performed in solely 65 video games resulting from ongoing again issues. If Lowe was traded, the Rays may depend on some mixture of Taylor Walls, Isaac Paredes, Jonathan Arandap Vidal in Bruges at second base, as they did final season. Plus, high prospect Curtis Mead is ready within the wings for his Major League debut.

The Rays relied on their pitching and protection to win 86 video games and declare a Wild Card berth final season, however Nimmo’s bat would vastly assist a lackluster offense. Nimmo hit .274/.367/.433 with 16 residence runs over 673 plate appearances final season, which translated to a 134 wRC+ and 5.4 fWAR. No Rays place participant in 2022 had the next fWAR than that Yandy Diaz‘s 3.8 quantity, and solely Diaz (146) had a greater wRC+. The left-handed hitting Nimmo even helps from a lineup stability perspective, since Tampa’s lineup is generally right-handed.

An argument will be made that if the Rays had been going to splurge on a participant, it needs to be for somebody with out Nimmo’s checkered damage historical past. There is a few irony in Tampa Bay pursuing an often-injured heart fielder identical to that Kevin Kiermaier is lastly off the crew’s books. Kiermaier’s six-year, $53.5MM extension was additionally one of many bigger offers in Rays historical past, and whereas Kiermaier was solely hardly ever in Nimmo’s league as a hitter, Kiermaier was one of many league’s greatest fielders at any place when he was wholesome sufficient to remain. on the sphere. The public metrics are somewhat extra blended on Nimmo’s work in heart area, though Tampa may use him in any of the three outfield positions, since Jose Siri is readily available to play heart.

Leave a Comment