New York Mets News

The Juan Lagares benching defies logic

By Danny Abriano

Before Thursday night’s game at Citi Field, the prevailing thought was that there was no way Juan Lagares would be on the bench again, for the third time in four games. That thought turned out to be wrong, and it set off an understandable uproar among those who cover the Mets, the team’s broadcasters, and its fans.

May 13, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) and New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) sit in the dugout during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The reason why Juan Lagares is rotting on the bench? No one knows. A grand total of zero writers asked Terry Collins for an explanation after the game.

On Twitter, #FreeJuanLagares, #FreeJuan, and #FireTerryCollins were all over the place, and #MetsTwitter – which is usually divided up into sections – was almost entirely unified in its disgust at the Juan Lagares situation.

By now, everyone knows the story.

Juan Lagares is perhaps the best defensive center fielder in baseball.

Juan Lagares has been one of the most valuable offensive players for the Mets in 2014.

Juan Lagares isn’t playing.

Juan Lagares isn’t playing because Eric Young, Jr. is.

One side effect of this is that Eric Young, Jr., a good guy and solid fourth outfielder, is becoming the target of fan scorn. It isn’t Young, Jr.’s fault that Terry Collins is apparently unfit to make rational decisions, but he’s bearing the brunt of the madness.

What makes this situation almost impossible to fathom is that not only is Juan Lagares one of the most valuable players the Mets have, he was also anointed the starting center fielder less than two weeks ago.

Additionally, Terry Collins (foolishly, since Eric Young, Jr. shouldn’t be part of a rotation) proclaimed before Lagares was named the “everyday” center fielder that the club would use a rotation to get all four outfielders playing time.

Instead, Curtis Granderson, Chris Young, and Eric Young, Jr. are playing full time while Juan Lagares – the most valuable of the four – sits on the bench.

Here’s a sampling of what those connected to the Mets had to say Thursday night about Juan Lagares seemingly being relegated to bench duty…

Anthony DiComo,

"Lagares is already one of the #Mets‘ best players, with a chance to become even better. I do not understand why Collins refuses to play him."

Jared Diamond, The Wall Street Journal:

"It’s hard to believe that Juan Lagares has basically been relegated to a bench player for the Mets. But here we are."

Bob Ojeda, SNY (on how he’d make the outfield situation work):

"I make it work by not sitting my best player…to me, this doesn’t make sense."

Gary Cohen, SNY:

"Conspicuous by his absence is Juan Lagares…that’s a real puzzlement right now…It’s hard to figure why you wouldn’t play Lagares every day."

Keith Hernandez, SNY:

"I’m at a loss."

…In four words, Keith Hernandez basically described the feelings of nearly every Mets fan.

One Mets fan who posted on Rising Apple’s Facebook page said that the fact that Lagares isn’t playing is resulting in him not enjoying the games.

Until Terry Collins makes the right decision here, this will continue to be a mind boggling mess – sabotaging not only any good feelings the fans might have, but a young career as well.

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