Right now the Mets outfield is a little crowded. Before Juan Lagares fractured his thumb, the team had five starting outfielders to fill three spots.
Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto have been the two brightest spots this season. Bruce has slugged 18 homers and driven in 47 runs to this point after a rough time with the Mets after coming over in a deadline deal last summer.
Conforto has 14 round-trippers of his own to go with 36 RBI and a .286 batting average, doing most of his damage out of the leadoff spot.
Then there is Yoenis Cespedes, the $110 million man who is in the lineup whenever he is not injured.
When healthy, these are the three best outfielders on the team.
But Curtis Granderson has been a constant on this team since 2014 and is one of the leaders in the clubhouse. One month ago today the 36-year-old was hitting .159 and had people asking the question of whether he had anything left in the tank.
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He has shown that he does though, as he is now hitting .212 and that average continues to climb.
But Bruce and Granderson are both free agents after this season ends and unless the Mets start to gain ground in the standings, both will have trade value as the deadline approaches.
Cespedes and Conforto will both start in the outfield next season, and since it is unlikely that Granderson or Bruce don the blue and orange next season, that leaves one open outfield spot.
The team signed Juan Lagares to a four year contract extension that will end after next season. The contract does include a team option for the 2020 season.
Lagares does most of his talking with his glove. When he plays, he is one of the best defensive center fielders in the league.
The one thing that keeps him out of the lineup is his .299 career on-base-percentage. If Lagares can get on base just a little bit more often, his glove would justify him being an everyday player.
He has shown flashes of it. In 2014 he hit .281 with a .321 OBP in 116 games. He drove in 47 runs that year. This year he was hitting .269 with a .317 OBP before the thumb injury.
Brandon Nimmo is the other option the team has to fill that spot. He has long been one of the team’s top prospects since he was drafted in the first round back in 2011. He made his MLB debut last season and hit .274 in 32 games in 2016.
He was recalled after the team put Lagares on the disabled list.
Whoever the Mets go with, the outfield next season will certainly be a lot less crowded and fans should see three everyday outfielders instead of the mixing and matching they have seen in 2017.