Where the heck is Juan Lagares and why isn’t he in the starting lineup every day?
Terry Collins has committed countless blunders during his tenure as manager of the Mets, but none of them have stoked the ire of Mets fans, writers and analysts alike, as the way Collins is handling one of the brightest young stars on the team in Juan Lagares.
“If Collins is going to insist on playing Eric Young everyday, then he cannot do it at the expense of Juan Lagares who is the future of this franchise. Let him platoon Granderson and Chris Young in right field if he has to, but stop messing with Lagares and play him everyday.”
Gary, Keith and Ron were also baffled and openly questioned Collins’ omission of Lagares in last night’s lineup. What was going to be a great rant by Hernandez especially, was cutoff by a commercial break. Too bad.
Here is what some of our writers on MMO had to say on the matter…
Connor O’Brien – I’ve been indifferent towards Terry Collins much longer than most have. It’s only been very recently that I’ve turned against him. Players play hard for Terry Collins, there’s no doubting that. Most of the team likes him and respects him, or it at least appears that way. However, Collins has been inconsistent with his style. On some occasions he lets the veterans play, and at other times he lets the rookies play (although it’s usually the vets who are favored). A good balance of veterans and younger players is always important, but these past two years should have been used to play younger players as much as possible, considering the state of the franchise and our direction. It hasn’t been much of a problem until recently, especially given the situation with Juan Lagares. The outfield should be Granderson, Lagares, and Chris Young. Even if Collins were to use a different combination, possibly involving Eric Young Jr, he has to get Lagares in there everyday. We saw a similar situation with the fifth spot in the rotation. Collins clearly wanted Dice-K, but the front office wanted Mejia. Obviously the smarter move for the future was Mejia. Another sore subject has been the constant mismanagement of the bullpen and an inability to recognize when it’s time to take a starter out. If the Mets turn it around this year with Lagares and the young guys playing, I’ll give Collins the benefit of the doubt. But it appears now like the popularity of Collins is not enough to overcome his flaws.
XtreemIcon – My view hasn’t changed on this topic since it was brought up in a preseason MMO Roundtable. Lagares should start 150 games or so. I understand needing to rest a guy and needing to keep the bench guys fresh, and I’m not opposed to EYJ starting against the real tough right-handers, maybe once a week, alternately in place of Lagares and Chris Young. But there’s no defense for benching Lagares. I don’t complain much about Collins’ strategic managing, as far a pitching changes, putting certain plays on, etc. Managers have very little impact over the outcome of games over the course of the season. But his decision to leave Lagares on the bench is clearly a mistake, as well as burying Familia at the end of the bullpen until just recently. He obviously has a predilection to playing vets, and in and of itself, that’s not that big a deal because all veteran managers have that issue. Joe Torre was killed for it when he managed the Yankees. But when the team’s success is tied so tightly to the development of the kids, they need to play. I never really understood why someone with such a loyalty to veterans and who operates under that mindset was brought into the organization to work in minor league development. It’s not a big deal as a manager of a young team UNLESS that mindset carries over, and it has. It’s a separate issue from those who have issues with his in-game decisions. I don’t much care about that. But if he can’t get out from under that veteran mindset, he has to go.
Tommy Rothman - Eric Young’s faster than Lagares and that’s it. Juan is a better hitter, although EY’s week-long stretch (until last night) of getting on base in the first inning sure did make him look pretty good. Juan is also a much better fielder. He saves runs, while EY costs his team runs on occasion (we saw that with his failed dive on Wednesday). Lagares’ bat has cooled off a bit lately, but the way he was hitting, there’s a bit of room for him to cool off and still be a solid hitter. He seems to hit better when Terry puts him at the top of the order (so basically, when EY is on the bench). When he’s hitting sixth, he tends to swing for the fences a bit too much. And hey, Juan is no slowpoke, even if he isn’t as fast as Young. They can’t bench Granderson because of the money. And because of the fact that he’s hitting over .300 this month and has started to drive in some runs. Chris Young is a power threat and a solid all-around player, so even if they were willing to put EY at second, move Murphy to first, and give Duda a day off on occasion, the Mets couldn’t find a real way to get EY and Lagares both REGULAR playing time. If Terry rotates the outfielders around properly, he should be able to get everybody some solid playing time. But Lagares should NOT be on the bench as much as he has recently…
Kirk Cahill – I think it’s becoming more evident with each passing day that Terry Collins isn’t the right manager for the Mets. He’s mismanaged several of our young players, with Juan Lagares being the most befuddling. You’re choosing to play older, lesser players instead of a 25-year old who is arguably the best defensive center fielder in the game. Especially when Lagares appears to have made some strides offensively this season — ranking 3rd on the team in OBP, 2nd in SLG and 3rd in WAR despite not playing in 10+ games. Problem is that it doesn’t end there. I thought sending Montero out for a sixth inning against the Yankees on Wednesday was inexcusable. Montero labored through the first four innings, facing a veteran team that ran his pitch count up. Yet Terry sends him out there to throw his highest pitch count of his career in his first major league start. Then there’s his flip flopping at shortstop, declaring Flores the everyday guy then immediately benching him in favor of Tejada. Flores could be getting AB’s in Vegas instead of rotting on the bench. Collins obviously isn’t managing with these kids futures in mind. He’s out there attempting to save his job by risking the futures of our young pieces. Time for a change.
Peter Anselmo – It’s going to be hard to talk about Terry Collins without using profanity but I will give it a try. It’s time for Terry tenure of managing the Mets to end. He has not had a winning season since he was hired and, although that may not be his fault due to the talent he’s been provided, I do not think he has what it takes to run a successful baseball team; something the Mets have every chance to be in the very near future. The only thing working for Collins is that his players seem to play hard for him. That’s a good trait to have but it’s not nearly enough to overcome his many flaws. First, let’s talk about the atrocity that is his in-game management. He makes too many mind-boggling mistakes that frequently come back to bite the Mets on a consistent basis. On the pitching side, he leaves his starters in far too long or not long enough, mismanages the bullpen and burns many arms out, and he names a new closer seemingly every other day. When he says something like “Juan Lagares is my everyday center fielder,” it is meaningless because look at the situation we are in right now. I cannot even fathom how anyone running a professional baseball team can bench a rising star like Juan Lagares right now. He’s arguably the best defensive center fielder in the National League, if not all of baseball. He was never highly touted for his offensive abilities but it’s quite clear that he’s making the necessary adjustments to back up his defense. He has speed and he has pop. If he is given an opportunity to start on a daily basis and keeps blossoming offensively, it’s not crazy at all to think he can make an All Star Game or two. This is what Keith Law had to say about the EYJ/Lagares situation yesterday morning: “I don’t get the EYJ fixation. He’s a fringe big leaguer. Lagares is a legit everyday guy with a 7 or 8 glove. At some point, the front office has to step in and smack Collins in the back of the head.” To be quite honest, I think he needs a kick in the ass more than a smack on the back of the head. Sorry for the profanity. I tried.
One reader wondered if Collins is under orders from the top.
El Verdadero Presidente writes:
“I refuse to believe Terry isn’t being leaned on by a higher up. Everybody on this side of the planet knows Juan should be playing over CY. Moves like this are simply not baseball-driven. Even a dullard like Jeff would be birthing multiple canaries if a senile manager went rogue like this.”
That led to the possibility that perhaps they are trying to showcase Chris Young who hasn’t exactly lived up to his $7.5 million contract thus far and is providing similar-type offense we could have gotten from an Andrew Brown or Matt den Dekker for about $500K.
CY has been looked at as a square peg being squeezed into a round hole almost since the day he was signed, and many questioned why that money wasn’t better spent to bring in an established shutdown reliever instead… Especially when it was very probable that Bobby Parnell might not be ready to begin the season.
One thing is certain, if Collins continues to treat Lagares like the ugly stepsister, it may lead to an uprising in the fan base calling for his firing.
In this city, that could get very ugly, very fast.
The hash tags #FireTerry and #FreeLagares took off on Twitter Thursday night, and in New York, both Terry Collins and Juan Lagares were trending topics. Those were True New Yorkers…
As my C.O. used to always say back when I was on active duty, “Sh*t’s getting serious, now.”