For Mike Piazza, which is like middle school for batting leaders in the major leagues, it was the name on everyone’s lips around the Mets. Eighty-two home runs, 116 RBI, 149 runs scored. That was just a decade ago. The Mondo Line was a powerful one.
But, then it became a trend. They were no longer more valuable than a Juan Lagares, a Jose Reyes, a Noah Syndergaard. And, as Ike Davis plays like he’s somehow discovered a slot in the No. 5 hole on the Mets, the Mets learned that for one year, the rarest of commodities, the second baseman, can be trumped by an updated spreadsheet and second base steeled-with-pillow-landed power . . . and a backup catcher.
So now, the Mets are paying Juan Lagares $19.1 million dollars per year, nearly what Michael Conforto’s guaranteed until 2022. Lagares earns $4.9 million in 2019 and is the primary source of returning offense from a team that owns the worst record in baseball.
But the business people who run the Mets might not even see the value in that return. They should remember this coming off the trade of Yoenis Cespedes, who apparently accepted a far less significant money from the New York Yankees. His three years at $52 million dollars will only be $3.2 million less than Cespedes spent for three years. But as a Yankee, he’s guaranteed more. They can make him more with every step than the Mets can with Lagares, simply by getting him back to help provide the protection they could not on their team this season, when they needed it.