NL West Notes: Nimmo, Rockies, Padres, Lawlar

Brandon Nimmo is “on the Rockies’ preliminary wish list” heading into the offseason, according to Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post.  Given how the Rockies somewhat unexpectedly splurged on Kris Bryant last winter, they shouldn’t be ruled out of making another splashy move, though it will indeed take a big commitment to win a bidding war for Nimmo’s services.  As observed by MLBTR’s Anthony Franco in his recent Rockies-focused Offseason Outlook entry, Colorado is already close to its club-record payroll high, so the Rox may have to go well beyond their usual financial comfort zone to add Nimmo or any other notable free agent (unless they created some payroll space with trades and non-tenders).  The Rockies might at least have a geographical advantage if Nimmo wants to play closer to home, as Denver is less than two hours away from Nimmo’s hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Signing Nimmo would immediately solidify the center field position for the Rockies, bring some left-handed balance to a mostly right-handed lineup, and give the club some more offensive pop.  While Nimmo has had trouble staying off the injured list during his career, he has always been productive when healthy, and answered some questions about his durability by playing in 151 games with the Mets in 2022.  Nimmo hit .274/.367/.433 over 673 plate appearances, with 16 homers and a league-best seven triples — his 134 wRC+ was higher than any Rockies player with at least 100 PA last season.

More from around the NL West…

  • The Padres surpassed the luxury tax threshold in each of the last two seasons, though it doesn’t seem like the team is planning to curb its spending any time soon.  “We’re good, and we have to protect that and enhance it,” club chairman Peter Seidler told reporters (including Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune).  Naturally, neither Seidler or president of baseball operations A.J. Preller gave any concrete numbers about offseason spending plans, and Preller noted that the Padres have had the financial flexibility “for the things are going to come up through the season.  Sometimes that calls for players and free agency trades, players of different caliber and different dollar amounts.”  As Acee notes, San Diego already has around $187MM projected for next season’s payroll, and plenty of holes to fill on a roster that might lose some key players to free agency.
  • Diamondbacks star prospect Jordan Lawlar will need 6-8 weeks of recovery time after suffering a fractured left scapula last week during Arizona Fall League play.  A wayward pitch from Orioles prospect Nick Richmondjust hit [Lawlar] in the wrong spot,” D’Backs farm director Josh Barfield told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  However, Barfield said the injury won’t require surgery or be too much of a setback for Lawlar’s offseason prep, even though it will end Lawlar’s excellent AFL showing.  The sixth overall pick of the 2021 draft, Lawlar just turned 20 years old back in July but has already made his Double-A debut.  Assuming good health and continued progress, it might not be out of the question that Lawlar makes his Major League debut late in the 2023 season, though the Diamondbacks don’t want to rush things with a player who has only 102 total minor league games on his resume.

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