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Eric Young & Juan Lagares in Mets 2014 Outfield? No Way!

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.

eric young
Eric Young & Juan Lagares — room for only one of them in Mets 2014 outfield.

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?


3 thoughts on “Eric Young & Juan Lagares in Mets 2014 Outfield? No Way!

  • Marvin Harrison

    I think not having any power period is more of a problem than not having much power in the outfield.

    I don’t see Lagares as an everyday player at all. He’s hitting .266 on the year with a 330+ BABIP and doesn’t walk at all. He also doesn’t have enough speed to make up for a lack of power. He’s an Endy Chavez-type player.

    I think EY is serviceable enough to start because of his offense and defense combined. As a hitter with poor defense, I don’t think he’s an everyday player. I’d rather have Murphy. We;re obviously going to need to upgrade the outfield though. If we’re doubling payroll, we HAVE to sign Ellsbury, and we should make a run for Choo to play right. While not an outfield with massive power, I think those moves, along with the natural progression of our pitching staff make us contenders next year.

    I’d much rather move Murphy and have Flores play 2nd.

  • Marvin, I have to disagree with you. Both Lagares and Young will be Mets for the fore seeable future. Both are young kids and have tremendous potential. I see Lagares as their regular CF. He has steadily improved this season. He and Young patrolling the OF make a strong defensive combo. Byrd will be in RF next year.

    I don’t see the Mets adding Ellsbury or Aaaa-Chooo. They will just be getting out from under Santana and Bay’s contracts. I don’t see the Mets willing to take on huge money for guys who won’t guarantee a title. If the Mets were a player two away maybe but they are not.

    As well as Q has done, the Mets most pressung need in my opinion is a solid shortstop. They haven’t given up on Ike so he will be with us for at least another year and the Murphy, Flores, Young possibilities are too numerous to go into. They may end up dealing some of their young pitching for a proven bat (and manageable contract) that will be with them for a few years.

  • Marvin Harrison

    I agree that EY and Lagares will be Mets, but I strongly disagree that they have “tremendous potential,” and that they should play in the same OF everyday. EY is 28 years old and in the prime of his career. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect much more from him.

    Lagares is 23 and has more upside, but I don’t think his ceiling is significantly higher than EY’s. His steady improvement has all been in defense. That improvement coincided with a hot July, where he showed brief signs of developing an advanced hitting approach– walking more and striking out less– but his numbers have quickly reverted in August. He’s never been a top 100 prospect and doesn’t have any hitting tools. Having a strong July by itself doesn’t warrant the expectation of significant hitting improvement.

    They can both be helpful players, but we’d need to have a much stronger infield than we do to justify starting 2 OFs everyday who derive most of their value from defense.

    Defense comes cheap in the MLB and it’s coachable. Hitting largely isn’t. Our team’s biggest hole is hitting, and outfield defense as a whole is less important than infield defense (aside from 1st).

    You’re the first person I’ve heard to use big money coming off the books as evidence for the prediction that a team will spend less money in the ensuing off-season. We are a big-market team with dead money coming off the books and the Wilpons have pledged to double payroll. We are buyers this off-season, and we should buy ourselves pieces that will help in the medium term. I also think that our outfield is weaker in terms of hitting than our infield, that Marlon Byrd will not produce near this level next season, and that there are premium OF options in free agency this off-season.

    Ellsbury is 30, and probably has another 3-4 years of productivity. Choo is 31, but his primary value comes from a high OBP, which comes from an advanced approach. His aging curve shouldn’t be as severe. During the time they are productive, we can add additional pieces– hopefully by landing a big-time, middle-of-the-order bat through free agency or trade (as long as the trade doesn’t involve Syndergaard).

    We could use an everyday shortstop. Q is old and gets tired playing so much. But I’d feel comfortable if Q platooned with another low-cost journeyman player with good defense. I don’t think that need is close to as pressing because it’s not going to improve our team in a significant way, and it can be addressed with 1/25 of Santana’s salary this year.

    We will not put ourselves within 1 player of being a contender without spending this off-season. Significantly upgrading hitting at 2 positions will put us on a trajectory to be competitive next year, and a serious threat to go deep into the playoffs the following two years, as our young players develop, and we continue to add helpful pieces.

    It’s possible that I’ve misread, but I think that this has been the Alderson plan.

    Assuming we are spenders this year, do you think there are players that would be more helpful to this team than Ellsbury and Choo?

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