There is a #FreeLagares hashtag trending on Twitter and Facebook as I speak. With each mention of this hashtag, the intensity for the Mets to free outfielder Juan Lagares from the bench is becoming increasingly noticeable and palpable.
Yet another day goes by and Lagares is still sitting, as he was on the bench again on Friday night.
Sometimes Mets’ fans can get carried away with their demands and antics, but this campaign certainly has its merit. You don’t bench an outfielder like Lagares, plain and simple.
Sure, the Mets spent some money in the offseason to acquire Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, while also having spark plug Eric Young on the roster. But, Lagares should not be the one left out in this outfield rotation. When you got a player that can play the outfield the way Lagares does, you don’t let that talent rot on the bench. You play him every day in center and just marvel at what he can do for you
It’s not like Lagars has proven to be one dimensional. After all, he does sport an impressive .296/.336/.439 slash line to go with 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBI’s in 98 at-bats. With Lagares past his hamstring issues, that sidelined him a little more than two weeks earlier in the season, it’s time to take the training wheels off and get Lagares back out there ever day.
Seriously, what’s the hold up?
While Eric Young is not the greatest hitter (.236/.326/.325), when he does get on base, though, he causes havoc. I mean, how can you ignore the 28 runs (tied for sixth in the NL) and 15 stolen bases (second in the NL)? So, it’s natural to want to have him in the lineup at leadoff and in left field, considering the damage he does on the basepaths.
Then in right field there is Granderson, who is finally coming around. While he won’t hit for average (.194), he will give you some pop and he is 7 for his last 25 with two home runs and six RBI’s. He now has five home runs and 19 RBI’s on the year. By the end of the year, you will get what you paid for in Granderson, and that is close to 25 home runs and 90 RBI’s to go along with solid outfield play.
That leaves center field down to Lagares and Chris Young.
Sure, the Mets signed Young in the offseason to a 7.25 million-dollar deal, but the primary agenda should be putting the best lineup out there every day and winning. It’s pretty evident that Lagares is the vastly superior defender, and as of now, looks like the better hitter at the moment too, seeing as though Young is only posting a mediocre .222/.285/.388 slash line. While Young has more pop in his bat, that shouldn’t constitute giving more time than Lagares. Yet, Terry Collins gives us lip service that he is benching Lagares in favor of more offense. Puh–LEASE!
The two definites in the Mets outfield should be Granderson (perhaps sitting him sometimes against real tough lefties) in right and Lagares in center, while going with the hot hand between the Young’s in left.
So, consider this an impassioned plea to the Mets’ front office and Collins: get your heads out of your you-know-what’s and finally #FreeLagares.
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