Worst Case Scenario
Like I said, the key for Lagares to have a successful year next season is for him to stay healthy, which he has been unable to do in the past three years.
While I remain optimistic that he seizes what could be his last opportunity to be an everyday starter with the Mets, there is a decent chance that he re-injures himself at some point next season.
To me, that would be the worst case scenario for the Mets if it were to happen.
Even when he hasn’t hit particularly well, his lowest recorded batting average for a season came back in 2016 where he hit .239 in 79 games. While that isn’t great for an everyday starter for a competing team, his defensive prowess would still warrant him playing at least until Cespedes returns or if the Mets acquire another outfielder via trade.
However, if Lagares were to get hurt, this would be a much larger issue for the Mets, as they do not have a lot of depth in the outfield at this time.
Aside from Lagares, the only legitimate options to play in center field are the newly acquired Keon Broxton, who batted .179 in 51 games last season and .220 in 143 games the year prior, Raja Davis, who hit .224 in 101 games and joined the Mets on a minor league contract, and Gregor Blanco, who also is signed to a minor league contract and hit .217 in 68 games for the Giants last year.
With Conforto and Nimmo set to begin the year playing in the corner positions, the Mets could also move one of them to Center and have 1B/LF Dominic Smith spend some time in Left Field as he did in 13 games last season, but he also had a low average, hitting only .224 last year.
Clearly, of all of those options, Lagares is the best of all of those options to start the season in center, as even if he regresses to his career-worst batting average, he’d still out hit all the Mets’ other options for next year.
If he were to get hurt, however, that would be the worst situation for the Mets and would put them in a tough spot as they do not have any great hitting options to replace him and it would mean getting no productivity out of a player who they are paying $9 million next year.
While I hope this doesn’t happen and Juan Lagares is able to stay on the field next year, the Mets need to be prepared to the possibility that he once again misses significant time on the DL again this season.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Does anyone have Curtis Granderson‘s number?