Mets’ Brandon Nimmo smiles after hitting an RBI single to...

Mets’ Brandon Nimmo smiles after hitting an RBI single to put the Mets ahead against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

SAN DIEGO — Edwin Diaz is re-signed and Jacob deGrom is replaced, so a lone member of the Mets’ big three free agents remains.

The Mets remain in touch with Brandon Nimmo and his agent, Scott Boras, who said the centerfielder is in “great, great demand” this week at the winter meetings. Nimmo has been on site, too, meeting with officials from interested teams in person at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, a process that Boras said they “were just finishing” up Tuesday afternoon.

If not Nimmo, who is expected to comfortably pass the nine-figure threshold, it’s not clear to whom the Mets would turn as an alternative. So for now they’ll wait to see what happens.

“We’re holding out hope that somehow it works out for Brandon,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Brandon got better every year he played. He improved. So somebody will get a good person and a good player. We hope it’s us. But if not, we have to be ready to pivot and move in another direction.”

Pivoting got harder earlier Tuesday, when Cody Bellinger — the 2019 NL MVP who was cut by the Dodgers last month after consecutive terrible offensive seasons — reportedly agreed to a one-year, $17.5 million deal with the Cubs. He had been a feasible Nimmo backup for the Mets as a bounceback candidate seeking a one-year, medium-money contract.

Boras, who also represents Bellinger, said Bellinger had interest from “11 or 12” teams and declined multi-year offers.

The list of other free-agent centerfielders is topped by Kevin Kiermaier, the longtime Rays defensive stalwart who had the 2023 team option on his contract declined. He’s been about a league-average hitter in his career — worse in recent years — and his advanced fielding metrics regressed in 2022. He spent about half the season on the injured list with a hip problem that required surgery in August.

The trade market contains other options, but the Mets’ strong preference is not to trade top prospects.

All of the above is why the Mets have mentioned an apparent internal option: Starling Marte. The 34-year-old, who is coming off core muscle surgery, played rightfield for the Mets last season but manned center for other clubs in the years before that.

“He’s willing to do whatever,” Showalter said. “Whatever you’re going to do with him, be up front, tell him what’s expected and leave it alone. Don’t be moving him all over the place . . . Going into last year, he hadn’t played rightfield. So to make it work, he played it for us. He’d be willing to do it, but you have to get ahead of it.”

Showalter similarly mentioned Marte and batting champion Jeff McNeil as options to bat leadoff in the event Nimmo signed elsewhere. Both have done that plenty in their careers (and McNeil has been in the No. 1 spot more than any other).

Of course, all this contingency talk would end if the Mets kept Nimmo. Boras said he/Nimmo would not give the Mets a last chance to match a potential higher offer from another team, Boras’ standard practice for clients. 

“There’s nothing that I see about [the Mets] that has changed their direction or attitude toward getting the best players on the marketplace,” Boras said. “[Nimmo] is in a category of what you would see elite players get [in terms of size of a contract].”

Boras’ sales pitch includes Nimmo having a “near-.400 OBP” (.367 last season, .385 in his career) and “almost double the power of a normal centerfielder in today’s game.”

Showalter noted that “for whatever reason” Nimmo stayed on the field last season, playing through physical issues to get into a career-high 151 games.

“He seemed to get through a lot of [health-related] things that had been a challenge in the past, that didn’t snowball into something where he had to sit out a lot of games. So that was good to see,” Showalter said. “We’d like to have him. He’s a good player. He’s established himself.”