By: Marc A. Kaplan

Juan Lagares’ Future With The Mets

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After winning a Gold Glove Award and displaying a great deal of offensive potential in 2014, the Mets awarded Juan Lagares with a 4-year $23 million dollar extension. With a game changing glove and a 2014 WAR of 5.5 many Mets fans viewed Lagares as a budding star, and the deal as a steal for the team. However, just over five months into his deal, the 26-year-old has assumed the meager role of a late inning defensive replacement.

Through 424 at bats in 2015, Lagares has compiled a .262 average, a .290 on-base percentage, 6 homeruns, and 39 runs batted in. Most surprising, has been the outfielder’s diminished level of play in the field. His inability to make the spectacular catch and decreased arm strength and accuracy have led to a pitiful WAR of just 0.7. An absence of elite defense has made Lagares that much harder to insert into the lineup, and at this point is receiving less at bats than fellow outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Michael Cuddyer, and Kirk Nieuhenweis.

Many fans have attributed Lagares’ poor play at both the plate and in the field to a shoulder injury which could require surgery in the offseason. But if this injury was truly the cause of his troubles, it would have made sense for the Mets to shut down their former Gold Glove winner months ago, especially after the midseason additions of Conforto and Cespedes. However, despite the injury, Lagares remains on the roster, but for how long?

With the Mets in prime position to secure a playoff berth this season, the question arises, should Juan Lagares be present on a potential postseason roster? With Cespedes, Granderson, Conforto, and Cuddyer all locks to make the roster, Lagares may ultimately lose his roster spot to September call-up Eric Young jr. The veteran speedster provides the Mets with both base-swiping ability and position versatility, while Lagares only offers a slight defensive upgrade to their starting outfielders. Lagares, who just a few months ago was viewed as a legitimate building block for the Mets future, is no lock to make next year’s opening day roster.

With Granderson, Cuddyer, and Conforto all under contract for 2016, Lagares’ future with the Mets seems murky at best. It will be interesting to see how the Mets will handle this situation throughout the offseason. Could surgery be a possibility? A stint in triple A? Or even a trade to relieve salary?

About Marc A. Kaplan

Marc A. Kaplan has been writing for DailyStache since joining the staff in early 2015. He is currently a senior broadcasting major at the State University of New York at Oswego. Contact Marc at KarcMaplan@gmail.com.

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