The Mets have a problem. Both Eric Young and Juan Lagares are playing well enough to stake claims in the Mets outfield for 2014. But this is a recipe for disaster; the type of disaster the Mets outfield has been for several seasons now.
It’s not that Young and Lagares are not good players — they are. It’s just that they are the same type of player. Both have little power (Lagares has slightly more), decent speed (Young is faster), are good outfielders (Lagares is better) and could lead off (Young is better suited).
Either one would be a good option in center field, provided that the choice is flanked by two power hitters. Having Lagares in center and Young in left does not really do anything for the lineup. And we all know how a Mets lineup with no power in the outfield fares — four-straight under .500 fourth place finishes, with another one possible for this season.
If the Mets like them both and want to keep them around, the only option is to deal Daniel Murphy and install Young at second base. The Mets could live with a slap-type hitter there. Actually, that might be the only way to trade for an outfielder, since Murphy is one of the few Mets with any trade value.
This is what I think will happen. Sandy Alderson has apparently coveted Eric Young for a couple of years now; he’s not going to get rid of him now that he has him, especially when he is contributing. Alderson will not make the same mistake again this off season and not acquire proven power in the outfield. He has seen the results of that folly, and the odds are he won’t get lucky with another Marlon Byrd, either.
Whatever happens, the outfield will look far different next year than this season. Although weren’t we saying the same thing a year ago?