With the regular season just days away, the New York Mets took the opportunity to make sure their Gold Glove center fielder won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, the Mets and Juan Lagares have the framework in place for a four-year contract extension with a fifth year (2020) option. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports later reported that Lagares will make $23 million, and the option is worth $9.5 million. The deal covers all of his arbitration years and will go into effect after the 2015 season.
Lagares, last season’s recipient of the National League’s Gold Glove Award in center field, has a .262 career batting average over two seasons with the Mets with eight home runs and 81 RBI. His 5.5 WAR in 2014 was seventh in the Senior Circuit.
Lagares first made an appearance in Queens in early April of 2013, when he was called up to replace the injured Andres Torres. The 26-year-old quickly became a fan-favorite with his seemingly endless range and rocket arm. Lagares finished 2013 with 15 outfield assists, second most by an outfielder and a franchise rookie record.
His one apparent weakness was his ability to get on base, but Lagares raised his on base percentage 40 points in 2014, which led to him doubling his stolen base total, including nine swipes in September alone.
Entering Tuesday, Lagares was hitting .345/.400/.655 in 18 Grapefruit League games this spring with three home runs.