The Juan Lagares-Brandon Nimmo logjam

The corner outfielders are as set as cement right now for the New York Mets. In left, the Mets will be trotting out Yoenis Cespedes, who hopes to return from injury and be the prominent slugger that his reputation suggests that he is. In right field, the Mets brought back Jay Bruce. While Bruce doesn’t exactly play the most beautiful brand of defense, he is almost a sure bet to secure 30 home runs and 100 RBIs for the team.

So that leaves centerfield, probably the most important of the outfield positions, up for discussion. The likely reality is that once Michael Conforto returns from injury, he will be put out there. The Mets need a bat like Conforto’s in the lineup, and they will sacrifice defense like they normally do to keep his bat in there. Conforto, a corner outfielder for his whole career, saw spot starts in center last season, suggesting the Mets want him to be able to play there moving forward.

Until Conforto returns though, the Mets need to fill the void at the position. As it stands right now, it looks like it will be a competition between Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares to determine who gets the vacant job in center. In terms of defensive prominence, and the ability to cover ground, Lagares is second to none. He is the recipient of the 2014 Gold Glove, and his highlight reel catches have been lighting up the screens of TVs and mobile devices of Mets fans for nearly five years now. Offense is a different story however.

Whether it be nagging injuries or receiving inconsistent starts over the years, Lagares has never been able to put up consistent offensive production. His best season came way back in 2014, where he put up a .281 average and posted 24 doubles. He has not hit over .259 since, and the Mets have been just waiting for him to regain that offensive production ever since.

On the other side of the ring is Nimmo. For the early part of his career, Nimmo wasn’t even known for his playing ability. He was known for his last name sounding like “Nemo” and his large smile and passion for the game. This has since changed. Towards the end of last season, Nimmo was put to the test by Mets brass, and had to prove himself to stay on the team. Nimmo, a notorious hard worker and hustler, proved his worth to the team. He showed great ability to get on base, and even handled the open space of center field moderately well. The problem is though that Nimmo’s best position is left field, and that is already occupied.

In the end, this battle will come down to what Mickey Callaway wants in his lineup. Is he willing to sacrifice consistency in the lineup to have strong defense in center with Lagares? Or will he want an on base guy that isn’t exactly the best fit in center with Nimmo? No matter who gets the start out there, they will be feeling the other guy right over their shoulder, waiting to grab the position from them.

14 comments for “The Juan Lagares-Brandon Nimmo logjam

  1. Mike Walczak
    January 27, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Keep Nimmo. Trade Lagares and his salary. With Cain gone, the Royals need a CF.

  2. Metsense
    January 27, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Lagares is a wonderfully gifted fielder who is a joy to watch. He is not durable so it is difficult to rely on him. Nimmo has a good batting eye and OBP and fills the profile of the desperately needed lead off hitter. Lagares needs to establish himself to be plus offensively this spring in order to win the starting job otherwise Nimmo should share the platoon. Alderson stated Nimmo was an “interesting” player and I agree. Conforto, when healthy, will end up being the center fielder and the Mets hopefully will have plenty of outfield depth,

  3. Remember1969
    January 27, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    To me, this is one of the strengths of this team. There are a lot of innings to play and all 5 will play a lot. With Lagares being the only right handed hitter of them, he’ll see starts against every lefty, and a lot of late innings as a defensive replacement. Nimmo could start a 3 times a week spelling each of the starters to keep everybody fresh. Obviously if Cespedes, Bruce, and Conforto all stay healthy and get in grooves there is no point in taking them out a lot, but chances are, that keeping the legs fresh will be key to all.

    • Mike Walczak
      January 27, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Just seems like a lot of these players are fragile. We still need more parts at 2B and SP. As I said in my earlier post, use Lagares as a trade chip. Yes, great defender, but who do you want leading off, Lagares or Nimmo? Do we really think that Lagares is going ro become Dan Murphy? Let’s see if his new training has worked and see if he can get rhe ball in the air.

      • Remember1969
        January 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm

        I think trading Lagares would be the wrong path. He may not be a starting outfielder, but he provides two very valuable facets that are otherwise missing from this team – outfield defensive replacements in games he doesn’t start and some speed off the bench for late innings pinch running opportunities. BTW . I may be wrong, but I believe Lagares is a better hitter than he has shown – maybe not a Murphy, but better than the guy that has been bashed so badly over the internet by Mets fans.

  4. January 27, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Lagares is the best OF on the team and will play a ton as long as healthy. Nimmo is intriguing for sure, but the Mets have an Asset here and should trade it for another one that they are in dire need of, one 2b and leadoff batter – Josh Harrison. The fact that Sandyman won’t do this trade is very puzzling and frustrating for all Met fans. This acquisition would fill out the team and be ready for the spring. Harrison brings energy, speed and defense, all things this team lacks on a day to day basis. A good quality start day in and day out plus a HR or two here in there,we know what this team is. All that and a candy bar will get them to 82 wins or so.
    So what ? That is not getting us anywhere.Wake up Sandy !!! It is February next week for goodness sake.
    The starting lineup should be;
    2b- Harrison
    3b- Cabrera
    cf – Conforto
    lf – Cespedes
    rf – Bruce
    c- d’Arnaud
    1b- Gonzalez
    ss – Rosario

    Bench – Lagares, Nimmo, Flores, Reyes, Plawecki
    P- Thor, Degrom, Matz, Harvey, Gsellman
    BP – Familia, Ramos, Blevins, Swarzak, Lugo, Sewald, 2nd lefty TBD

    • Remember1969
      January 27, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      I was in the trade for Harrison camp, but recently fell out. Have you compared Harrison’s stats to Reyes? Reyes really outhit him in every facet of the game except BA and OBP last year and that was with a very rough start. Harrison’s trending is very bothersome as well as the fact that he doesn’t seem to be able to stay fully healthy, I think for Reyes salary, and the fact that it would cost players, Harrison is the wrong way to go at this point. (give Guillorme a good look in Spring Training for the 2b job .. if he needs another year, I am good with Reyes and Rivera taking most of the reps)

    • Hobie
      January 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Your bench includes the guy (who could L.O.) you just traded for your L.O. hitter.

      I’m fine with a 50/50 Legares/Nimmo split until Conforto returns (more like 60/60 with some rest for Cespedes & Bruce). And when Conforto does return, A-gon be-gone IMO.

      And I want a FT trial for Flores at 2B. I believe he can be as effective as Murphy was which is just as valuable as Harrison could ever be. Now Frasier? That’s an interesting thought yielding a veteran, switch-hitting IF bench (Flores/Cabrerra). I could probably consider an 8-man BP if that were the case.

      • Mike Walczak
        January 27, 2018 at 11:39 pm

        Ok, lets keep Lagares and give Wilmer a chance to be FT at 2B. That is what is probably going to happen anyway. This is New York for goodness sake. Act like it. Go out and make the moves that need to be made to put the best possible team on the field. They need to quit crying poverty. Don’t make dumb moves like risky long term deals to players over 30, but go out and get that second baseman. (Josh Harrison or Whit Merrifield) Go out and get that starter. (Lance Lynn) We are not asking for Max Scherzer or Jose Altuve. This team looks way too much like the 2017 and 2016 teams. Go out and get it done.

  5. January 27, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of the offense provided by Lagares – no walks, no power, dependent on super-high BABIP to be even close to a league average player for the position.

    Maybe I’m just drinking the offseason Kool-Aid but I want to see what happens with Lagares’ work with the coaches that turned J.D. Martinez around. While I want Nimmo to get a shot, I think I’d be inclined to give Lagares the first crack – say 100 or so PA to show a new offensive game.

    Lifetime, Lagares has a .109 ISO. Has he ever had a stretch of 100 PA with a .175 ISO? I don’t know – I didn’t check. Regardless, it should be fairly easy to see if there are any changes.

    • Mike Walczak
      January 27, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      What can we really expect from Lagares? Good defense, weak bat, some speed. Rely on him as a leadoff hitter ? No. Add in dArnaud, Gonzalez and add in rookie in Rosario and the pitchers spot and that is 5 positions in the order that the strategy is hope. Hope hope hope.

      Look at the Yankees lineup. Even if their core players play less than average, they still have enough firepower to score a lot of runs.

      I feel like I am at the circus, watching a magic show. Step right up. Lets see if our center fielder can hit fly balls. Really ? What have our expectations sunk to?

      69 – 49 years ago. 86 – 32 years ago. Get rid of Alderson and lets get rid of the Wilpons. Worst thing for a franchise are owners who are not in it to win it. Gotta give credit to the Steinbrenner clan.

      • January 28, 2018 at 9:00 am

        What can we really expect? I guess that’s the point – no one knows what to expect. If he’s the same lousy hitter he’s always been, you move on and play Nimmo until Conforto is ready.

        • Mike Walczak
          January 28, 2018 at 10:19 am

          You are right Brian.

  6. Hunter
    January 28, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Frazier and Watson and we’ll all be happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: