Juan Lagares, Matt Den Dekker and the future of the Mets outfield

The Mets have hopefully seen the last of Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda in the outfield of Citi Field.  The Mets have hopefully seen the last of the defensively challenged outfields that cost them more runs than their bats generate.  The Mets currently have one of the best defensive outfields in recent memory.

Matt den DekkerEric Young Jr., Matt Den Dekker and Juan Lagares combine range and athleticism in such a way that Met fans can take a measure of pride in their defensive prowess.  Is this a sign of things to come or is this just the defensive calm before the storm?

Josh Satin said that he’d like to try his hand at the outfield.  While I love Satin’s “go-gettum” attitude, you have to understand that Satin and his majestic eyebrows have no part in a major league outfield.  To be fair, Satin is trying to maximize his value to the team.  He can currently fill in at 3B, 2B and 1B and adding the ability to play left field would likely see the OBP oriented righty’s playing time soar.  The Mets just need to think to themselves if there is really any value in having a questionable defender out there.

To add to the discussion there are those who continue to put forward Wilmer Flores’ name as a possible outfielder.  PLEASE STOP.  Flores has a fine bat and will be capable of holding his own at 3B and 2B.  He can even give 1B a try in the offseason, but you can’t keep making players who are physically unsuited for the outfield play there.  You certainly can’t do that and expect success.

You have witnessed the benefits of having defensive gems in your outfield and you’ve experienced the Duda experiment.  Which do you prefer?

8 comments for “Juan Lagares, Matt Den Dekker and the future of the Mets outfield

  1. steevy
    September 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I don’t blame Wally.Fire Terry Collins!

    If the Mets retain manager Terry Collins next season, as is widely expected, the team could stand to lose Triple-A manager Wally Backman, writes the New York Post’s Mike Puma. Backman, who was a finalist for Collins’s job, could look elsewhere to advance his career if he isn’t given a seat in the New York dugout.

    • NormE
      September 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      I’m not sure that Alderson would be comfortable with Wally’s temper in the Mets dugout, especially as the manager. However, I do agree with your FTC campaign.

  2. steevy
    September 7, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I like a manager with fire.As long as he treats all players equally.TC is inconsistent.Also he’s just not a good manager.It doesn’t have to be Wally,I just don’t want at Terry Collins.

  3. Chris F
    September 8, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Great little article David. I couldn’t agree more. In fact any successful mlb outfield is not the “Island of Misfit Toys”, but staffed with professional players. The nature of hoe the OF evolved this year is something to behold. I get that Byrd commanded attention with his bat, but he sustained it with strong glove work and real hustle. But the emergence of Juan Lagares has been fantastic discovery. I encourage everyone to head over to fangraphs and read a great article from the other day entitled “Juan Lagares: Assassin of Runners” for en excellent non Mets-centric evaluation of Lagares. I still view him as a center fielder, with the hope den Dekker’s bat can sustain him to play LF, with Choo as the last piece playing RF.

  4. kidc11
    September 9, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I like the outfield a lot. Many fans wanted the Mets to sign Michael Bourn. He’s got 6 hr’s, is batting .260, and has a K/BB ratio of 120/39, and he’s got 22 SB’s, but thrown out 10 times. And he’s making millions, and he won’t get better. I see no problems with the Mets outfield, though den Dekker and Brown don’t have enough info to go. Cesar Puello also has talent. He looks like a young Manny Ramirez. He was leading AA when he got busted. Then there’s Valdespin, and Greg Vaughn’s kid. And Lagares is outhitting Ellsbury and Choo since the All Star break. We don’t need them and their huge salaries. We’re okay in the outfield.

    What I’d like to see?

    Jose Reyes back. Can Tejada fit the bill? If not, need a trade or pickup IMO.

    Move Murphy somewhere, probably 1st. He can hit. I don’t know the metric, but going to his right, he’s terrible, his range is poor, and have you seen him handle the double play when he receives the ball? He often has both feet on the bag and throws flat footed. I’ve never seen this before-ever. I’d rather see Flores and Turner split that spot, with Turner backing up at short as well. Bye to Ike and Duda, in my opinion. Satin can back up at 1st and 3rd.No outfield for him, unless an injury or no other option.

    Get bullpen help. Though when these injuries heal, we should be better.

    • za
      September 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      1) I’d say we’re going in the right direction with the OF but I wouldn’t say we’re okay yet. Lagares has less than a year of play at the MLB level and Den Dekker has less than a month. Brown has hit when he’s played this year but I do think his ceiling is that of a platoon player. We’re still short 1 to 1.5 starting OF once you consider all of that.

      2) I agree we need help at SS. We need to get better there but I don’t think trading for Reyes is the right answer although I’m sure we could. The Marlins gave him a backloaded contract so he’s getting *really* expensive now and the truth is that despite his bat, he’s a below average defender and an injury risk. We’d be better off plugging the hole with a veteran like Peralta or Drew and settle the future with someone from our farm system or someone else’s.

      4) Murphy, on a competitive team, is not an everyday player. He doesn’t have the bat for 1st and his defense hasn’t been stellar at 2B. I can count multiple games he has lost for us on defense. Despite two homers over the weekend, I don’t think Turner deserves a spot on the 25 man if we fill the squad with talent. I see Flores getting moved to play 3rd for a team that needs him there.

      5) The bullpen situation hinges on Parnell’s health. We can definitely expect Torres, Black, and Parnell there, and hopefully Familia and Edgin. That’s a start.

      • September 9, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        1) I would be happiest with a 5-man outfield of: Choo or Ellsbury, Lagares, Den Dekker, Young Jr. and Brown. Gives us a good mix of skills etc…

        2) Reyes at 50% of his current contract would be worth a prospect. Otherwise no. I would favor looking for a trade for SS.

        4… 3 sir) Murphy would be an upgrade for the Dodgers who could use him at 2nd or 3rd. The Mets could then have Flores be the full-time 2B. I still vote trading Murphy for Pederson and Gordon but that is probably me being an optimistic Met fan.

        5… 4, m’lord) Bullpen should be set being 90% internal. I still look to sign 1 vet arm.

      • September 9, 2013 at 3:03 pm

        Murphy, in what has not been a particularly good offensive season for him, is tied for 7th among 2B in fWAR with a 2.5 mark. That’s beyond the level of an everyday player on a competitive team. If Murphy is one of your problems, you’ve got an outstanding club.

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