The Mets have announced that outfielder Juan Lagares will require toe surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. Needless to say, this comes as quite an unwelcome surprise.
The organization provided a detailed explanation of the malady:
Juan Lagares hyperextended the big toe on his left foot. The MRI revealed a complete tear of the big toe plantar plate, which is a thick supporting ligament of the toe.
It seems there’s still some hope that Lagares will be able to make a return late in the present campaign. At least, it hasn’t yet been ruled out. But the organization surely did not sound an optimistic tone in stating that he likely would be sidelined the rest of the way. Plus, the fact that the surgery is “tentatively scheduled for next week” does not suggest that it’s being performed as soon as possible in hopes of speeding up his timeline.
The news comes at an especially unwelcome time for player and team. Lagares had been off to a solid .339/.375/.390 batting line through 64 plate appearances to open the year. While that low-power, largely BABIP-dependent output was not exactly a stirring showing, it did represent an improved performance from what Lagares had provided at the plate over the prior three seasons. Of course, the calling card for Lagares remains his outstanding glove.
Plus, the Mets are now dealing with the absence of Yoenis Cespedes, who just hit the DL. It had seemed that Lagares would get a fair bit of action, as the club’s remaining top outfield pieces (Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo) are all left-handed hitters. Instead, the just-recalled Phillip Evans could get some opportunities.
This is the latest indication that the Mets won’t get what they hoped out of the extension they agreed to with Lagares at the outset of the 2015 season. Since putting pen to paper, Lagares owns a mediocre .258/.299/.366 batting line in 961 plate appearances. Under the deal, he’s due $6.5MM this year, $9MM for 2019, and then either a $500K buyout or $9.5MM salary via club option in 2020.