The Mets lineup for tonight’s game was just released. And Juan Lagares is not in it. Eric Young is playing center. For the fourth time in five games. Oh, and Bobby Abreu is in the lineup. Not Lagares, though!
This despite the fact that Lagares is not injured. This despite the fact that Lagares is easily the Mets’ best defensive center fielder. Heck, he may be the best defensive center fielder in the game. This despite the fact that he’s also the Mets’ best offensive center fielder too, hitting .296/.336/.439. This, most notably, despite the fact that Terry Collins said earlier this month that Lagares is his every day center fielder. To this I say:
Why isn’t Lagares starting? Does anyone plan on asking Terry Collins about it today? How about asking Jon Neise how he feels about the team’s best outfielder being benched in favor of defensive whiz Bobby Abreu?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Marlins, Mets, and Yankees have had discussions about a three-team trade in which Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto would go to the Mets. It’s not known which other players were discussed in the deal, but Rosenthal notes that the Mets wouldn’t be willing to part with Noah Syndergaard if they are only getting Realmuto in return.
Realmuto, 27, was the best offensive catcher in baseball in 2018, batting .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 531 plate appearances. He has two more years of team control remaining until he becomes eligible for free agency, adding to his value.
The Mets’ catching corps currently includes Kevin Plawecki and Travis d'Arnaud, so Realmuto would be a significant upgrade. Such a trade would be the club’s second big splash of the offseason as the Mets finalized a trade to acquire second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from the Mariners earlier this month.
Interestingly, the Mets and Yankees haven’t made a deal involving major league players since December 2004, when the two sides swapped pitchers Mike Stanton and Félix Heredia, Rosenthal points out.