According to Collins, the outfield will be a “juggling match,” with Juan Lagares not necessarily an every day player:
Collins went on to say that the only player immune from the impending “juggling match” is Curtis Granderson.
That means – in Collins’ head at least – that the club is prepared to relegate Juan Lagares to something other than an every day player.
Prior to the season, Terry Collins (unless he was stopped by Sandy Alderson) seemed ready to play Eric Young, Jr. mostly every day with Juan Lagares getting infrequent starts. When Chris Young injured himself, a door was open for both Lagares and Eric Young, Jr. to play.
Now that Chris Young is about to return, the decision regarding Lagares and Eric Young, Jr. should be a simple one.
Apr 9, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) makes a catch against Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (not shown) during the first inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Young, Jr., who has never been a plus player on either side of the ball, has been dreadful at the plate and shaky in the field.
Lagares, whose defense alone is worth more than Young, Jr.’s entire game, has been the most productive offensive player on the club.
Almost unfathomably, Collins is actually talking about taking playing time away from Lagares.
Putting Lagares on the bench – for anything other than a rare day off – would expose Collins as both obstinate and foolish. It would be something that he should get fired for.
There are some who think that the words Collins spoke Monday in Arizona are the feelings of Sandy Alderson, which I find to be incredibly unlikely.
Alderson said before the season that Lagares should be starting every day in the majors, and if he failed in that role, he belonged in the minors working on his game.
Lagares has excelled, yet Collins is still letting his infatuation with Eric Young, Jr. impact his thinking.
This needs to stop.
Even if Sandy Alderson steps in and mandates to Collins that Lagares should play every day, the mere fact that Collins is even thinking about reducing Lagares’ playing time at this point is mind boggling.