The Mets won't have to worry about Juan Lagares's insane defensive statistics boosting his value in arbitration. That's because the club just agreed with its center fielder on a four-year contract worth at least $20 million that covers Lagares' four arbitration years starting in 2016.
According to former big league general manager and current ESPN writer Jim Bowden, the Mets now have Lagares signed through 2019 and have a club option for 2020, which would be the Gold Glove winner's first year of free agency.
The deal appears to be a sweet one for the Mets, who just saw Lagares post a 3.0 fWAR in his rookie season of 2013 despite hitting for a 76 wRC+. In 2014, with Lagares hitting .281/.321/.382 for a 101 wRC+, he was worth 4.0 fWAR. Already one of the best defenders in all of baseball, if the 26-year-old can continue to improve his offense, he could become one of the most valuable players in the game.
All that potential for around $5 million per year! It's hard to argue with this deal for the Mets. They're still only paying Lagares around $500,000 in 2015, and arbitration was likely going to push his annual value towards the $5 million mark anyway.
Even though he might spend a lot of time batting ninth in 2015, Lagares should continue providing terrific value to the Mets in the near future.