The New York Mets lost out on veteran center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who was dealt to the San Francisco Giants on Monday from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
While the Mets were linked with the 2013 NL MVP, it was revealed on Tuesday night that they were a lot closer than originally thought.
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that the Pirates called up the Mets asking for their young outfielder Brandon Nimmo, but New York "balked" at the request.
At 24 years old, Nimmo isn't exactly a budding young prospect as he's been used mostly as a reserve outfielder over 101 games spanning two seasons. Most of his time in the Mets lineup has been attributed to the team's inability to stay healthy as Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares all went down with injuries.
In 69 games last season, Nimmo showed flashes of becoming a top-of-the-order bat. Though he didn't possess much power and a mediocre .260 batting average, his .379 on-base percentage was a clear indicator of his patience at the plate.
The Mets already have a crowded outfielder after re-signing Jay Bruce last week to step in at right field, meaning that once Conforto fully heals from a dislocated shoulder, he will move into center. Juan Lagares, one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, would likely the season in center if Conforto is unable to go by Opening Day with Nimmo as another option.
Given New York's outfield status, Nimmo could be looked at as expendable, which is why some have questioned why the Mets didn't pull the trigger to deal for a player like McCutchen, who has averaged 24 home runs and 87 RBI per 162 games.
Sources told Rosenthal that the Mets could be using Nimmo as a centerpiece for a deal to get Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, who is looking to be traded after Pittsburgh dealt ace Gerrit Cole to the Houston Astros before shipping McCutchen off to San Francisco.
Mike Puma of the New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that the Mets and Pirates have talked about a possible Harrison deal, but talks "are not ongoing."
Harrison, unlike McCutchen, would fill a far greater need for the Mets, who are in need of either a second baseman or third baseman.
The 31-year-old is coming off a season in which he garnered his second-ever All-Star appearance as he batted .272 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI. He is also under team control for the next three seasons while McCutchen's contract is set to expire at the end of the 2018 season. So while the Mets value Nimmo, it looks as though they are looking to get a little more stability should they deal him.
Hypothetically speaking, if the Mets were to acquire Harrison, Asdrubal Cabrera would likely be the team's starting third baseman after he was forced from his normal position at shortstop when the team called up top prospect Amed Rosario in August.