Wait a minute; Juan Lagares was a shortstop?

Juan LagaresDid everyone know that Juan Lagares started out in the organization as a shortstop? Yes, I know that he hasn’t played it since 2009 but could the New York Mets consider switching him back? There is some precedence to such a move; consider that the team played Hubie Brooks at shortstop and Howard Johnson at shortstop during the eighties. A young Kevin Mitchell also played some games at shortstop as well.

Could the team be better if Lagares moved out of the outfield and into the infield? Lagares is only 24 years old. He stands 6’1 and weighs 175 lbs.

Lagares has been with the organization since 2006 (when he was just 17). During his time with the team, he has logged in 192 games at shortstop during four minor league seasons. At this position, he has handled 930 chances, 282 putouts, and 579 assists. He has made 69 errors and turned 85 double plays. He has a minor-league career fielding percentage at shortstop of .926.

What do the Mets lose by considering a move like this? They lose their starting center fielder. Lagares displayed elite fielding skills last season. In 108 games, his fielding percentage in center last year was .982.

What do the Mets gain by considering a move like this? They gain options. The organization has already signed Chris Young to play an outfield spot and he is also a plus defender. This could also open up a spot in left field for Eric Young, Jr. who currently has no starting position. This would allow the Mets to start both Young, Jr. and Daniel Murphy. This would also mean they would not have to trade for or sign a free-agent shortstop or enter the 2014 season with either Reuben Tejada or Wilfredo Tovar at that position (note that I am a fan of Tovar though).

What other aspects are there to consider before beginning to even discuss this? The Mets currently have two players at first base: Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. A trade involving one of them could net another outfielder, a veteran pitcher, a back-up veteran catcher, or prospects. Chris Young is only signed to a one-year contract; the Mets do not have a long-term commitment and Young’s exit would open center field back up. What is the current status of Lagares? He injured a knee during winter ball in the Dominican Republic and was in New York recently to have it checked out. The diagnosis: it was determined to be inflammation and the remedy is two weeks of rest. Prior to this injury, he was hitting .342 in 114 ABs.

11 comments for “Wait a minute; Juan Lagares was a shortstop?

  1. Glenn
    December 12, 2013 at 8:11 am

    This is dumb. Lagares’ main value is tied to his superlative defense in center. Now you want to turn him into a below average shortstop?

    • Metsense
      December 12, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Exactly Glenn,no sense in him at SS. Another point to consider, is Lagares the starting CF in 2014? The batting order for positions 2 – 6 seem to be filled and d’arnaud 8th.Tejada is the starting SS by default. If EY starts he would be the lead off man because of his stolen bases not his OBP. If Lagares starts then Tejada may be the leadoff batter because of his better plate discipline. It looks to me that this 3rd OF position is up for grabs. Hopefully there is more players coming and at least it is a positive arguement instead of debating Cowgill or Valdespin.

    • Chris F
      December 12, 2013 at 11:04 am


  2. Jerry Grote
    December 12, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Notable that each of the names you mentioned (Brooks, Mitchell, Johnson) were terrible defensively. And that Lagares hasn’t played the position since 09.

    So we level set here, you’d like us to weaken the middle of the defense – SS AND CF – in two primary positions and not improve the offense at any position to league average. (EYJ is less than league average at LF, Lagares put up less than league average offense of SS).

    That seems like a reasonable plan.

  3. tom
    December 12, 2013 at 8:23 am

    If they wanted him as a possible SS in 2014, they should have played him there in winter ball to see if maturity would have reduced his high SS error rate as a teenager. They did not, so I could only see him used at SS in an emergency. Shame is, after seeing how great he was in CF, he might have the potential as an adult to be a strong (and inexpensive) SS.

  4. Julian McCarthy
    December 12, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I have to say, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Let him win a gold glove out there.e

  5. eraff
    December 12, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Guys stay at SS as long as possible…. you saw it with Flores. Lagares was a Shortstop who was almost immediately converted to an outfielder at a very low professional level because he could not play the position at all.

    On the first day of a Little League Allstar/Tournament Practice there are 12 Shortstops…2 Catchers and 2 Centerfielders and 2 Firstbasemen(both Lefthanded Throwers)…. This may provide some insight.

  6. eraff
    December 12, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Hey…big oops…sorry..apology to the Editor. I capitalized for emphasis…not shouting.,..forgot the rule….no edit button….. sorry

    • December 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Thank you for remembering. I’ll fix it now.

  7. Jim OMalley
    December 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    These points are all well taken. This was an opening statement to see if there was a means of turning two negatives (no shortstop and no place for EY, Jr) into a plus. Great responses.

  8. Eric Kench
    December 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Lagares mad 40 errors playing shortstop in single A ball and he also made 5 errors in his one season playing centerfield in the major leagues. I don’t see him retaining his starting job because of the Chris Young signing.

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