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Mets Sign Former Gold Glove Center Fielder Harrison Bader, But What About Nimmo?

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The New York Mets continue their trend of signing ex-Yankee ball players this off season, to try and fill open spots on the roster. But one signing does not make any sense, and that was the inking of former gold glove center fielder Harrison Bader to a one year contract.

The Mets already have a center fielder in Brandon Nimmo, and that was made certain when they inked him to an 8-year, $162 million dollar deal last off season.  He agreed to resign as he saw what the team was building towards for the 2023 season and believed enough that the Mets wanted him as he would make an impact to the team. Or why else would they give him such a massive contract?

But now they bring in an Ex-Yankees coach, Carlos Mendoza, who is starting to bring over some of his favorite guys, first Luis Severino and now Bader.  But what message are they sending Nimmo, when you ink a former gold glove center fielder to just a one year deal, when Nimmo has been that guy and more. Truly looks like we are back in the days of the Wilpons, clueless on how to send messages to your team.

Back in 2022, prior to Nimmo electing free agency, he had his best seasons in the majors when he batted .274, with 102 runs, 159 hits, 30 doubles, seven triples, 16 home runs, 64 RBIs and 71 walks, while playing in 151 games. On the field he had 308 total chances, made 304 putouts, with four assists, no errors and a fielding percentage of 1.000%.

Nimmo could have signed with any team that wanted him and he would have been a star center fielder, but he chose to believe in what the Mets had planned and resigned with them for what could be the rest of his career. The only organization he has ever known.

During the 2023 season, he stepped up his game and proved to the Mets and the fans that his numbers from 2022 were not a fluke, as he matched the batting average at .274, played in one more game at 152, scored 89 runs, had 162 hits, 30 doubles, six triples, hit eight more home runs (24), drove in 68 runs, with 74 walks in 592 at bats.  Huge numbers after signing a huge contract. In centerfied, he had more chances (340), more putouts (333), three assists, did have four errors, with his fielding percentage dropping to .988%, but was still a dynamic presence roaming center field for the Mets. He did see about 10 games in left field, but that is not what they signed him for.

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As for Bader, he does come with a gold glove, but his offense has not been as explosive as Nimmo’s bat. Bader’s best year was in 2021, when he batted .267, with 45 runs, 21 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs and 50 RBIs in 103 games with the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2022, he was traded to the Yankees and had a great playoff run, as he batted .333, with five home runs in nine games. Bader dealt with injuries in 2023, which only allowed him to be on the field for 84 games (.240 BA, 40 R, 11 Doubles, 2 Triples, 7 HRs, 37 RBIs) with the Yankees, before they designated him for assignment and the Cincinnati Reds claimed him off waivers on August 31st. In 14 games with the Reds, he batted .161, with no home runs and three RBIs.

Bader is one year younger than Nimmo, and that may be the only selling point in my mind, but Nimmo has been better overall, has more offense and has already proven that he can handle center field and do very well at the position. Now if Bader is coming over to play left field, then the Mets have a great opportunity to have a great defensive outfield. But if Bader is coming over because he is a favorite ball player for new manager Mendoza, in my opinion, it sends the wrong message to Nimmo.

All players are not guaranteed any positions, and each spring they battle it out for the right to play their prefered position, but Nimmo has earned that right, like Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, to be the face of the organization and not have to worry about fighting for his job. He was signed to a massive deal and has done all that has been asked of him, period!

After a disastrous 2023 season, the Mets needed to make some splashes in the off season to prove to the fan base that they are committed to winning, but with the signing of Bader, it could send mixed messages, as to where will Bader settle in and will Nimmo still be the #1 option at center field.

There is nothing wrong with a little competition to fuel the juices on a team looking for some sparks, and as long as Nimmo is in center field the Mets are that much better and a shift of Bader to left, just adds another great glove to the outfield mix. Nothing wrong with that, if they stick to that plan.

Will be interesting to see how it all pans out!

To Be Continued…..

 

 

 

David is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Legends On Deck®, as well as a Co-Host on Legends On Deck Podcast. David was a Senior Editor for MetsMerizedOnline.com, MetsMinors.net and Contributor for Hardballchat.com that spanned from 2010 to 2014. David made his MLB Debut as a writer in June 2014, while covering the NY Mets at Citi Field, for MetsmerizedOnline.com. David also managed his Cape Coral 16U Rec Ball team for the past two seasons and on May 13, 2024 they won their league Championship. On May 15th, David started the first ever Legends on Deck 16U Travel Baseball team in SWFL. David's passion is teaching the game he loves to the future Legends of Tomorrow as well as making available a website that people can have fun sharing and reading. David is also passionate about his career as a Mortgage Loan Officer which allows him to help many families reach their dreams of owning a home. Connect with David via his Social Media pages as he loves to chat all about baseball.

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