The Mets are doing this in order to see if they can “find payroll flexibility,” but Puma says there is growing doubt that the 28-year-old Lagares will be traded this offseason.
A big reason for this is because there are better center fielders on the free agent market, mainly Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson and Rajai Davis, who teams looking for help at that position can sign. In addition, Lagares has two years and $15.5 million left on his contract, which Puma says “could be too much risk” for a team to take on because of Lagares’ injury history (torn ligament in left thumb in 2016 and broken left thumb in 2017). Lagares has only played 173 games in the last two seasons because of these pair of injuries.
Moreover, dealing Lagares, a 2014 Gold Glove winner, would make their outfield thinner and create a big hole defensively. As it stands, the Mets only have Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, but Conforto may miss the start of this season because he is recovering from shoulder surgery and Nimmo is not a true center fielder. And for a team that is totally dependent on its starting pitching for success, Puma says moving a quality defensive player like Lagares would be “contradicting.”