Mets manager Mickey Callaway is leaning toward deploying Juan Lagares rather than Nimmo as the team's primary center fielder to begin the season, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.

Nimmo should still receive the opportunity to compete with Lagares for the starting role in spring training, but regardless of how the job battle shakes out, the victor is merely keeping the seat warm until Michael Conforto (shoulder) is cleared to return from the disabled list, perhaps at some point in May. For fantasy purposes, Nimmo, who sported a .379 on-base percentage in 215 plate appearances with the Mets last season, would be a more intriguing option if he were to come away with the starting gig given that he would also rank as a top candidate to fill the vacancy atop the order, but Callaway and the Mets brass seem to prioritize defense above all else in center field. Lagares, a 2014 Gold Glove award winner, holds a clear edge over Nimmo in that regard, and his superior range would help compensate for the poor defenders (Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes) that would likely flank him in most games. With that in mind, Nimmo appears most likely to open the campaign as a fourth outfielder while seeing a few starts per week against right-handed pitching.

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