Longtime Mets beat writer Adam Rubin of ESPN tells us today that the Mets will be promoting outfielder Juan Lagares from Las Vegas in the very near term. Lagares is currently “tearing up the Pacific Coast League,” according to Rubin. Apparently, Lagares’s fine numbers have little to do with the PCL-is-a-hitter’s-league meme, since his form, technique, mechanics and makeup have been impressive in every league he’s played in. Putting him in the same outfield as Lucas Duda and Jordany Valdespin should generate the same kind of “Hey, look: they’re all homegrown!” conversation that was had last year about the infield. This comes on the heels of the DFAing of Aaron Laffey/promotion of Robert Carson to join Josh Edgin and veteran –ha! – Bobby Parnell, so the bullpen is taking on a systemic looks as well.
There can be no doubt now that this is Sandy Alderson’s team. Heading into spring training this year, it was trumpeted far and wide that the two most glaring areas of need – bordering on the dreaded “black holes” designation – were the outfield and the bullpen. Never a truer word… All offseason, Mets fans and MSM members moaned and groaned that Alderson was doing nothing to address these needs. Alderson himself admitted that he heard all the chirping, subtly masking it behind all the “What outfield?” jokes and making a passel of “minor” signings and trades, that brought the likes of Collin Cowgill, Brandon Lyon, Scott Rice, Marlon Byrd and LaTroy Hawkins. Let’s face it: when the “sexiest” acquisition of the offseason is John Buck, the grumbling looks justified. But as always, there’s a method behind the Aldersonian madness. All these guys are here until the fruits of the farm system can be harvested. Yes Buck and Lyon are off to surprisingly productive starts, but you and I know that the team would prefer to have an entire 25-man roster made up of homegrown, cost-controlled – especially cost-controlled, given the Wilpons’ famous financial follies — team-controlled players going forward. The way ballclubs are wrapping up their valuable properties in long-term deals, effectively short-circuiting arbitration and free-agency – almost a neo-Reserve Clause – you can hardly blame it. Free agency is starting to look more and more drab, with only the odd, aging superstar or Scott Boras client testing the market anymore. So it makes much more sense for the Mets to try and plug leaks by doing the Las Vegas shuffle. It’s now time for the big-city shakeout. It’s time to see if these kids can hack it in the Show. It’s time to see if all this farm-building is paying off.
For the Mets right now, it’s the only way to fly.
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