The New York Mets have to decide what they plan to do with Juan Lagares. Does he have a role on this team next season?
The New York Mets need to figure out what to do with Juan Lagares and fast. The former Gold Glove Winner is out for the remainder of the 2018 season, but it’s 2019 that should cause some concern for Mets fans.
After this season, Lagares is into the final year of his contract and will be making $9.5 million dollars.
Juan Lagares, a 2014 Gold Glove Winner, now relegated to reserve outfielder, has only started in 103 games in the last 3 seasons, despite being the 11th highest paid centerfielder in the entire league. At the time of publication, his 2019 salary will make him the 9th highest paid.
The organization has obviously moved on from looking at Lagares as an everyday player. When Michael Conforto moved from right field to center field, they made their decision. Now with Brandon Nimmo making himself a mainstay in the Mets lineup, Lagares doesn’t fit anywhere except as an 8th inning defensive replacement.
Lagares best year was 2014 a year that saw him make spectacular plays in center field, but also hold his own at the plate. Socking the ball at a .281 clip, Lagares was a great hitter both at the back of the lineup and as a leadoff guy. It’s amazing to think that at one time Lagares was hitting .308 in the leadoff spot.
The issue is not so much that Lagares no longer fits on the roster. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having a stellar defender in center field late into a game is something any team would love to have. This team happens to have one with the hardware to prove it.
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The issue is the contract. $9.5 Million is way too expensive for the player Lagares has become. If he were to have stayed healthy and progressed at a steady rate, maybe he’d be worth the money. $9.5 million is a starter’s salary, not an injury prone late-game defensive switch.
The Mets have other places they could use that money. Jacob deGrom is going to be in his 3rd year of arbitration and will be making more than his current $7.5 million salary. Noah Syndergaard is heading into his second year of arbitration and will without a doubt be fighting for more than his current $2.75 million.
Lagares’ contract is holding the Mets back from signing players who can make an impact.
As of right now, Lagares’s contract doesn’t reflect his value, it inflates it. That’s a problem the Mets need to solve sooner rather than later. Once Lagares gets healthy, they need to do something.
The bottom line is that this team could have $9.5 million to bring in a starter, rather than spend it on a bench player. I’d much rather have a solid starting pitcher make that money than see Lagares take up payroll space and a roster spot.
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What do you think? Should the Mets move forward with Lagares or shop him this winter?