The Mets are often baffling; I mean, why did they sign a 40-year-old pitcher to a big money, two-year contract when they had 57 young arms ready to join the rotation? But the sudden disappearance of Juan Lagares and Wilmer Flores has virtually every Mets fan scratching their heads.
Lagares is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. That alone should earn him an every day role. But he is also one of the only hitters in the lineup who is actually hitting, Yes, he is in a bit of a slump that has seen his average drop from a high of .338 to .296. But still, that .296 is second on the team to Daniel Murphy.
Lagares started just one of the Subway Series games, sitting on the bench watching Chris Young go 1-7 with three strikeouts in the two games at Citi Field. And perhaps more importantly, his weak arm in center possibly cost the Mets a chance to gun down Brian McCann at home with what turned out to be the game’s only run.
But the main reason Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson benched Juan Lagares was to get Eric Young into the lineup. Yes, Eric Young is the team’s only true leadoff hitter and can be a spark plug. But he is inconsistent. After going 3-8 in the two games at Yankee Stadium, he went 1-8 in the two games at Citi Field. Eric Young is proving what so many people say about him — he is just not an every day player.
The solution is simple — platoon the Youngs. Chris Young can’t hit lefties anyway, so give those at bats to Eric Young. And Eric Young can spell Murphy at second sometimes, too. This should be done despite the $7 million-plus contract Chris Young has and “promise” the Mets made that he will be a starter. But he has not lived up to his end of the promise to contribute at the plate.
Now to Wilmer Flores. Wasn’t it just a week ago that he was given the starting shortstop job? He played the first two games against the Phillies then succumbed to a virus. He’s fully recovered but we haven’t seen him since. In his absence Ruben Tejada has done all right, raising his average from .181 to a robust .200. But we all know he won’t keep it up.
Flores could be the future at shortstop. If he is a butcher out there, at least the Mets should see if he can hit and they can either move him somewhere else or to another team. But he needs to play and Tejada needs to sit. Another simple solution.
Collins is taking a lot of heat for this, but you know this is coming from Alderson. Once again, Sandy Alderson is showing us what a brilliant baseball mind he has.