A couple of days ago, it was reported that the Mets were receiving interest on the 2014 Gold Glove Award winner. While they are listening to the offers, there is skepticism within baseball that Lagares will be traded.
As of right now, Lagares is the most logical option to be the Mets’ Opening Day center fielder. If he were dealt, Brandon Nimmo would likely be thrust into his position.
That could be problematic as Nimmo only has 295 MLB at-bats under his belt. He would join Amed Rosario (165 MLB at-bats) and Dominic Smith (167 MLB at-bats) as likely Opening Day starters with less than a season’s worth of at-bats for their career.
It’s difficult to compete with that many starting position players who are unproven at the major league level.
So if Nimmo were to start in place of Lagares and Conforto misses some time, the Mets would have problems unless they actually acquire another outfielder.
With center fielders on the market like Lorenzo Cain, Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Cameron Maybin, Austin Jackson, Jon Jay, and Carlos Gomez, there’s no urgency for a team to trade away any talent for Lagares.
To do so would be a risk. Lagares is owed $15.5 million over the next two years in addition to either $9.5 million or a $500,000 buyout in 2020.
While all this makes Lagares an unlikely trade candidate, he’s still one of the few major league trade chips that the Mets possess. Puma considers AJ Ramos another one, but he differs from Lagares in that he would be less commitment (one season until free agency), but more expensive for 2018 (projected to make $9.2 million).
The fact that the Mets are even listening to offers for Lagares to try and trim payroll is odd as he’s owed $6.5 million for the upcoming season; not a hefty sum at all. In the end it would be hard to imagine them trading him unless they were surprisingly blown away by an offer.