Now that the New York Mets’ signing of outfielder Chris Young is official, it’s pertinent to look at what the Mets’ outfield would look like if the season were to start today.
Although Young has played a lot of center field in his career, because he has experience playing all three positions in the outfield, the Mets will likely move him to right field and keep Juan Lagares in center field. Lagares is a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder who should have been a finalist for the award this year, and it would be a mistake to move him from center field unless he struggles enough on offense to take him out of the lineup. At that point, the Mets would have Young as a potential replacement.
The Mets currently have Eric Young Jr. penciled in as their left fielder and leadoff hitter. An outfield of Young Jr., Lagares, and Young would be incredible defensively with the speed to cover a lot of ground in the spacious Citi Field, and the trio would be a huge asset to the pitching staff. But, there are a lot of reasons to be skeptical about the offensive production of that outfield lineup, which is why the Mets may not move forward with these three players together in the outfield.
The Mets do need to add at least one more outfielder this offseason, as their current outfield trio doesn’t give their lineup enough power. If they sign or trade a player with power that they can plug into left field, it opens up the possibility of moving Young Jr. to second base, which would then free up Daniel Murphy to be traded if they wish as he could be one of their best trade chips this offseason.
Another option would be to make Young Jr. the fourth outfielder and move him all over the outfield, trying to get him on the field and utilize his speed as much as possible. But if the Mets don’t add another outfielder, they could use Matt den Dekker, one of their top outfield prospects, in the role of fourth outfielder as he’s an exceptional defensive player with some offensive potential as well.
As it stands now, the Mets outfield for next season would be projected as Young Jr. in left field, Lagares in center field, and the newly-acquired Young in right field. While this unit would have obvious strengths, it would have some serious shortcomings offensively, which is why the Mets need to continue to upgrade their outfield despite the addition of Young.