Mets Rumors: Outfielder Juan Lagares still on the trade block

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: Juan Lagares
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: Juan Lagares /

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the possibility of the New York Mets trading Juan Lagares remains even into the 2018 season.

One of the greatest strengths of the New York Mets is their outfield depth. Behind starters Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto, and Jay Bruce they have a pair of very capable men sitting on the bench each night.

The duo, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo, will see their action limited in 2018. The Mets just don’t have room to give everyone at-bats each game.

A possible solution to open up a little more room is to trade one of them. According to a recent Mets rumor leaked by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, this is still an option weighing on them.

Through parts of six seasons with the Mets, Lagares has proven a few things. On the positive side, he’s a terrific defender. In 2014, the Mets center fielder managed to win a Gold Glove. Unfortunately, his slowing bat and some injuries took away playing time in the years that followed. Fewer innings meant less chance of adding some hardware to his collection.

At the plate, Lagares has regressed. An inability to draw walks gives him a career OBP just below .300. A severe lack of power also hurts his offensive statistics, giving him a career slugging percentage below .370. Lagares is a singles hitter who, unfortunately, doesn’t get many of them either. Other than 2014, the slick-fielding Lagares has never hit above .259.

Where could the Mets trade Lagares?

Over the winter, the San Francisco Giants looked like a perfect destination for Lagares. With an aging Hunter Pence in one corner outfield spot and the declining Andrew McCutchen in the other, the Giants needed a strong defensive player in center. They ultimately decided on Austin Jackson, taking away one of the best matches in a potential trade.

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Other teams will suffer injuries and open up doors for Lagares. Unfortunately for the Mets, the tough part is selling his contract.

Lagares earns $6.5 million in 2018 and another $9 million in 2019. As a one-sided player best utilized in a platoon situation, Lagares is most certainly overpaid.

That doesn’t mean the Mets are stuck with Lagares. He’s a great fourth outfielder who can give team solid production. Though he’s a bottom of the order hitter on any squad, Lagares belongs in the big leagues and at the plate at least 300 times a year.

Sadly, the Mets aren’t going to have those opportunities sans injury.

Keeping Lagares has its perks

Considering the age of many players on the Mets, keeping Lagares has its benefits. He’s a nice insurance policy. If any of the starters go down, the Mets can immediately fill the void.

Not many teams can boast about having such a strong bench. The Mets are one of those rare exceptions where everyone on the roster could start in the big leagues. Someone will go down at some point. Substituting them with a Lagares/Nimmo platoon would make for a decent enough replacement in the interim.

Lagares, while never as beloved as many of his Mets teammates, has been an important part of their success over the years. Let’s not forget, this is the same man who slashed .348/.375/.435 in the 2015 postseason.

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Since Lagares doesn’t appear to be part of the Mets future, it only makes sense to trade him at some point. Will it be in 2018? Or are the Mets going to hold onto him and use his limited to skills the best they can?