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Should the Astros pursue Brandon Nimmo?

To address their outfield need, the Astros could make a big splash in free agency by signing former Mets outfielder.

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

After Michael Brantley’s departure, the Astros are said to be looking for a left-handed hitting corner outfielder according to The Athletic. With Brantley leaving an important void to fill in the lineup, there’s someone who can take his place, someone that actually is pretty similar to Uncle Mike and can bring great value to the Astros lineup.

That man is Brandon Nimmo, who just put up a 5.1-bWAR season – that would have tied José Altuve in fourth place among all Astros players in 2022. Despite having a track record of injuries, the star outfielder would eliminate the Astros’ need in the outfield as he can play anywhere in the yard.

Nimmo got 159 hits, 30 doubles, and 16 home runs in 2022. He led the National League in triples (7), drove in 64 runs, drew 71 walks, scored 102 times, and posted a .274/.367/.433 slash line with an even .800 OPS. I just can’t imagine Nimmo not fitting in the Astros offensive order – if he can stay healthy.

Just like Brantley, the 29-year-old has enviable behavior at the plate. In 2022, he struck out at a career-low rate (17.2 SO%) and his contact percentage was a career-high for him as well (80.4%). Also, among all the ballplayers with at least 2000 plate appearances since 2017, Nimmo ranks seventh in OBP in the Majors with a .387 mark.

Best OBP marks since the 2017 season (min. 2000 PAs):


Having Nimmo is like having a younger version of Brantley. And I know you’re probably wondering why the Astros would bring a costly outfielder after they let George Springer go a few years ago. But things change year after year and Nimmo is just a different player.

Two additional things I like about Nimmo are how good he is with runners in scoring position and how well he handles at-bats in that environment. With RISP, he’s a .277/.420/.465/.886 career hitter with 86 walks and 95 strikeouts. Plus, in high-leverage scenarios, Nimmo has a lifetime .399 on-base percentage and a .851 OPS.

According to MLB Trade Rumors and its predictions, signing the former Mets outfielder will probably take a five-year deal for $110 million – which would pay Nimmo an AAV of $22 million. This writer finds that number a bit pricey, though. But if I was part of the Astros front office and had the possibility of structuring a more realistic deal of, say, 17-18 million on an annual average salary, I’d try to acquire Nimmo.

That would likely force the Astros to deal Chas McCormick or Jake Meyers for either starting pitching –especially if they fail to re-sign Justin Verlander— or catching help to back up Martín Maldonado.

Nimmo could fit nicely into the Astros lineup and plans. Ideally, Nimmo could hit at the top of the offensive order to try to get on base for Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker, and company. But let’s see, we’re not even in December. Time will tell.