Lagares, 26, took a major step backwards this year as he hit .259/.289/.358 with a 80 wRC+ in 465 plate appearances. He eventually lost his starting job in centerfield after the team acquired Yoenis Cespedes over the summer.
His defense also sharply declined in 2015. His Ultimate Zone Rating dropped from an elite 18.6 during his gold glove campaign in 2014 to just 3.5 this past season.
It’s now widely reported that the Mets are going keep Lagares on the roster and look to find a complimentary platoon partner for him this winter.
One player who keeps getting mentioned is free agent Gerardo Parra, who seems like an excellent fit. He has a career .289 average against righties with a .432 slugging percentage, and has two gold gloves on his resume.
However, based on several reports, it’s not a slam dunk that the 28-year old Parra will sign on to be anything less than an everyday player after 155 games played in 2015 in which he batted .291 with a .780 OPS.
Meanwhile, Lagares hit well against lefties this year with a .273/.333./.438 slash line, but struggled mightily against right-handed pitching with an underwhelming .599 OPS.
Despite a disappointing season for Lagares, there’s reason to believe that he can rebound in 2016. He performed much better during the later stages of the season, and the Mets are hoping for a turnaround in 2016.
Additionally, Lagares wasn’t able to play at 100% for most of the year due to an elbow and rib injury, and he’s reportedly fine now and playing in the Dominican Winter League.
Lagares is still owed $22.5 million over the next three years, but I’m glad to hear that they aren’t looking to trade him. It’s easy to forget just how valuable he was back in 2014 when he posted a 4.0 WAR during 116 games and made such an impact defensively.
That said, the team should be open to dealing him or any player, if a deal that can drastically improve the team materializes over the next two months.