New York is looking to build a core and took another step towards doing so on Wednesday. as first reported by ESPN's Jim Bowden, the Mets have signed outfielder Juan Lagares to a four-year extension that includes a club option. The deal buys out all arbitration years and one additional year of free agency.
Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan adds the deal is worth $23 million in total. The option is for $9.5 million and comes with a $500,000 buyout. The deal will not start until 2016, and as a result, the Mets have locked in salaries for each of Lagares' arbitration years. Lagares likely would have qualified for Super Two eligibility next year but after signing the deal will be with the Mets through 2020.
Lagares, 26, had a solid 2014 both at the plate and in center field, posting a .281/.321/.382 batting line in 116 games while adding four home runs and 47 RBIs. He also stole 13 bases and posted a 4.0 WAR last season.
While Lagares had offensive success last season, he also won the National League Gold Glove in center field. Lagares is having a productive spring, according to NJ.com's Mike Vorkunov ,and is consistently lauded for his defense.
New York is striving to be consistent with regard to its roster, and Lagares is not the first Met to be mentioned in extension talks this offseason. The organization is having ongoing discussions regarding a deal that would buy out remaining arbitration years and at least one season of free agency with first baseman Lucas Duda. Duda said he would like to have any possible deal completed before Opening Day, the New York Post's Mike Puma notes, and Lagares may feel the same way.
Lagares is the most recent center fielder to be extended, with Adam Eaton recently receiving a five-year, $23 million deal, which includes a pair of club options, with the White Sox.