Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto have recently had their seasons cut short due to injury. Because of that, additional opportunities have increased for many Mets outfielders, including Juan Lagares
Juan Lagares, like most of his teammates, was hit with the injury bug earlier in the season, but he’s finally starting to get in a groove. Thanks to consistent playing time, Lagares, the second highest paid Mets outfielder, is showing why he’s capable of manning centerfield next season.
Defensively most, if not all, Mets fans are aware of Lagares’ talent. He’s arguably the best defensive outfielder on the team, and perhaps one of the best in the MLB. Lagares, the former Gold Glover, has made spectacular plays all season long and is capable of both making the throw to gun a runner or covering a lot of ground.
Next year, the Mets will probably be seeking contact pitchers in free agency. If the Mets can land one or two, they will need Lagares to man center field in order to prevent base hits to the gap.
Likely because of his consistent playing time, Lagares has been heating up offensively. He went a combined 4-for-9 on Sunday with a stolen base, and hit .368 this past Nats series. Lagares has shown his abilities to steal bases (three this series), and also produced runs (three RBIs this series).
Though he hasn’t hit above .260 since 2014, Lagares has brought himself to .262 this season. With the combination of getting on base, driving in runs, and stealing bases, Lagares has established himself as one who can play center field everyday.
After saving $17 million from trading away veterans with expiring contracts, the Mets may look to make a splash in free agency. There are many big name players whom the Mets may consider, such get as Jay Bruce, Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez and more. If the Mets do sign one of these players, Lagares would still easily be the fourth outfielder since he is more versatile than other options like Brandon Nimmo per say.
Lagares still has a month to show what he’s got, but perhaps he may already have established himself as an everyday outfielder for 2018.