The Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets are both looking deal an outfielder before Opening Day. Keon Broxton and Juan Lagares are available for the right price, but which should teams want to acquire?
The Milwaukee Brewers have a glut of outfielders and could deal one for pitching. The New York Mets also have a glut of outfielders…and could deal one for pitching. Keon Broxton and Juan Lagares are the two names most likely to get dealt. Both players have serious flaws, but should one outfielder be targeted ahead of the other?
The case for Juan Lagares
Almost all of Lagares’ value is tied to his glove. He is fantastic on defense, but offers little on offense.
For his career, he owns a 4.6% walk rate, a 19.9% strikeout rate, 20 homers, and 37 steals in 1,770 plate appearances. He doesn’t walk enough to hit at the top of the order. He doesn’t hit enough power to hit in the middle of the order. All he does is catch just about everything that comes his way.
Lagares is a solid fourth or fifth outfielder and defensive replacement, but he’ll never start on a really good team.
Lagares is still in his prime as he’s only 28 years old. He’s also signed through 2019 with an option for 2020. His contract will pay him $6.5 million this year, $9 million in 2019, and the option is for $9.5 million with a $500,000 buyout.
The case for Keon Broxton
Keon Broxton is in his age 27 season, and he still has two years of team control before he hits arbitration.
Broxton is coming off a 20/20 season that saw him post a 0.7 WAR. Huh? His 21 steals and 20 homers came with a .220/.299/.420 slash line. He also wasn’t great defensively in 2017, but he was solid with the glove in 2016. Broxton managed an 8.6% walk rate last year, but he also posted a 37.8% strikeout rate.
With the off season additions made by the Milwaukee Brewers this past off season, Broxton is on the outside looking in. He’s not going to start in center field over Lorenzo Cain, and he won’t push either of the corner outfielders for playing time. If Broxton is going to get a full-time job, he needs a change of scenery.
Broxton has shown that he’s a capable outfielder who can rack up counting stats, hit for power, and has enough speed to be dangerous. The problem is that he has far too much swing and miss in his game to produce.
A deal for Lagares or Broxton depends on the team looking to acquire them. If a team is in need of a fifth outfielder or a defensive specialist to round out their bench, Lagares makes more sense. However, Broxton is a better fit for a team looking for a starting center fielder. He has tools that few possess, but needs to play every day to develop them. Broxton is clearly the better all around player, but Lagares could fill a very specific need.