Center fielder Juan Lagares is expected to return to the starting lineup on Saturday, when the Mets take on the Nationals at 4:05 PM.
Before last night’s game, Terry Collins told reporters that the reason Lagares has not been in the lineup for four of the last five games is because he has better offensive options among the outfielders.
“Right now, the defensive side, even though I’m a big believer in defense and the importance of defense, we’re not scoring,” said Collins.
“We’ve got to come up with some way to come up with some runs on the board. So I’m trying to put guys up there I think will drive in some runs.
Collins says that Lagares is mired in a deep slump and that he needs to get him going. But in his last 12 games during this so-called slump, Lagares is batting .250 with a .342 on-base.
I mention that because every other player on the team aside from Daniel Murphy, have endured much worse slumps and the worst offenders have been the Young brothers and Granderson.
Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post points out that this perceived slump by Lagares began on May 5, the day after Lagares had a three-hit game in Denver and then was benched in favor of Bobby Abreu the next day in Miami.
On more thing to note is that for the offense upgrade Collins thinks he’s getting by playing other options instead of Lagares, the Mets have lost three straight and scored just two runs in those 27 innings. The last win came when Lagares was in the lineup and they beat the Yankees 12-7.
Lagares remains positive and professional about the situation, but points out that the inconsistent playing time makes it difficult to get into a good groove – as any major league player would tell you.
“It’s a little hard, but you have to be ready for the opportunity,” Lagares said of playing so infrequently. “You never know what’s going to happen. When you play every day, you can make better adjustments.”
Vaccaro says that the reason why one of the Mets most promising players has been mothballed comes down to two things:
- A desperate attempt by Terry Collins to solidify his job security, although he is too stupid to realize he’s benching his third-most-talented player.
- Sandy Alderson is egregiously commanding Collins to bench Lagares because of how much they are paying the other three members of the outfield.
I will also add that it’s very likely that Alderson has guaranteed Chris Young at-bats and Collins is probably being forced to play him regularly despite being the least productive of the four.
Lost in all of this is the fact that Lagares is the one player that most fans – the true New Yorkers – want to see when they buy tickets.
Most fans love Lagares because they tie him to this future renaissance the Mets brass keeps talking about. You know the one – “The Plan.”
No need for crystal balls. Just working eyes. The best way to score runs, best way to win games? Let the best players play. Every day. Only the Mets would try to reinvent a wheel that’s already flat.