Notes & Thoughts: On Lagares, Ankiel, & Sizemore

By Danny Abriano

Here are today’s pertinent news and notes:

Terry Collins plans to play Juan Lagares more:

According to Terry Collins, Juan Lagares, who has been primarily nailed to the bench since he was promoted over a month ago, may finally start to see some regular time against right-handed pitching.  According to Adam Rubin of ESPN:

"The Mets had resolved to platoon Ankiel and Juan Lagares. But with the team exclusively facing right-handed pitching this series and in Washington, Collins said he may bend and start Lagares against a righty to get him playing time."

Lagares, 24, has hit just .146 in 51 plate appearances since his promotion, but his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is a ridiculously low .182.  In the games he’s played, Lagares has displayed a plus glove in center field (some Mets people even believe he’s a better fielder than Matt den Dekker).  With the offense struggling mightily and Lagares yet to get a fair shake, giving him some time to prove himself makes all the sense in the world.

May 19, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Mets left fielder Juan Lagares (12) is greeted by New York Mets first baseman

Justin Turner

(2) after hitting a two-run homer against the Chicago Cubs during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It often seems that Terry Collins puts players in platoons without ever reading their righty/lefty splits.  In the case of Lagares, he’s struggled in a miniscule sample size at the big league level against righties (0 for 14).  Still, giving him some more exposure is the right thing to do.  Especially when your alternative is Rick Ankiel (which will be discussed below).

Rick Ankiel continues to struggle:

After a solid first week with the bat after being brought in by the Mets, Rick Ankiel has turned back into a pumpkin.  Ankiel is 2 for his last 24, and has struck out 11 times over that span.  His average for the season is down to .205, and his OBP sits at .256.

It was unwise for the Mets to have signed Ankiel in the first place.  Now that he’s on the team, they seem to be finding excuses to keep him around.  With both Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill playing well in AAA, Terry Collins’ claim that he’ll play Juan Lagares more, and Matt den Dekker on the road to recovery, Ankiel’s days should be numbered.

It’s unknown whether Nieuwenhuis, Cowgill, Lagares, and/or den Dekker will be contributors for the Mets in 2014 and beyond, but it’s already known that Ankiel won’t be.  Having him continue to take at bats away from players who the team needs to evaluate is foolish.

The Mets & Grady Sizemore:

In today’s Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo speculates that the Mets could be interested in rehabbing outfielder Grady Sizemore.  Writes Cafardo:

"It shouldn’t be long before a long list of teams start to inquire about Sizemore. He’s begun baseball activities after missing all this time with knee surgeries, and so far he’s had no setbacks. Sizemore was once one of the great talents in the game, and it appears he’s working his way back and could help teams needing outfield help (Mets?) for the second half of the season."

Sizemore, 30, was one of the best outfielders in the game from 2005 to 2008, but his career has been sidetracked by injuries ever since.  He played only 104 combined games between 2010 and 2011, and was a shell of himself while on the field.  After dealing with knee and back ailments last year (he didn’t appear in a game), Sizemore underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.

Sizemore, a free agent, is currently participating in baseball activities.  It’s crazy to expect Sizemore to ever regain the form that made him one of the best center fielders in the game, but with the Mets’ uncertainty in the outfield, taking a flier on him on a minor league deal would be a wise, low risk move.

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