By: Michael Ganci

Mets Can’t Win World Series Without Juan Lagares

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Despite the fact that Juan Lagares technically opens the season as the fourth outfielder, while Alejandro De Aza is the fifth, his value to the 2016 New York Mets is enormous. In fact, as the headline states, I don’t think the Mets can make another World Series run without him being a key contributor this season.

First of all, Lagares definitely took a step back last season. Nobody can debate that. Because everyone basically assumed (myself included) that Yoenis Cespedes was a goner and the cash-strapped Wilpons wouldn’t bring in a big replacement, Lagares was all but guaranteed a starting spot for the 2016 squad. But things didn’t pan out that way. Due to a quiet market, and a desire to return to Flushing, Cespedes returned, moving the defensive-minded Lagares back to the bench.

Despite clearly being behind Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto on the depth chart, Lagares is going to see his fair share of playing time. First, he’ll be a late-inning replacement on defense, likely removing Conforto and shifting Cespedes over to left. Next, he could be a valuable pinch hitter, especially since you have another defensively-capable outfielder on the bench in De Aza. Lagares could also pinch run here and there. For example, if Lucas Duda singles in the ninth, and the Mets are down one, why not bring in Lagares? It’s not like they exactly have a speedster just waiting on the bench, and Juan is more than capable of handling himself on the basepaths.

Also, Juan is going to start plenty against lefties. This spring, the Mets have been working Conforto in right field some so Juan can play center against lefties. If Curtis Granderson rebounds against southpaws, then the Mets have a good problem. They have more able bodies than positions, and it’s Terry Collins’ job to manage them.

Also, don’t forget the 800 pound gorilla in the room…injuries. Every team is hit by them. If any of the three starters go down, Lagares can take over and do well. You’re talking about a guy who would probably start on half the teams, if not more, in the Major Leagues.

If Lagares is doing great, and so are the other three, he can also be trade bait. The Mets can package him for another slugger or a huge bullpen piece come deadline time, and the Mets can try to win that World Series we’ve been so desperately craving.

All I know is this. The Mets need Juan Lagares in 2016. All for Juan and Juan for all.

About Michael Ganci

Michael Ganci is the Co-Founder of the Daily Stache, along with Matthew Falkenbury. Since 2008, Ganci has eat, drank and dreamt all things Mets, and he'd have it no other way. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @DailyStache.

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