The Mets are working to complete a new contract with Juan Lagares that would guarantee the center fielder $23 million from 2016-19, including a buyout of a $9.5 million option for 2020.
”I love the Mets,” Lagares said Wednesday. ”That’s the team that gave me the opportunity when I was 16 years old. That’s the team that gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues. … This is where I want to be.”
Lagares has a $528,696 salary in the major leagues this season plus a $25,000 bonus he earned for winning a Gold Glove last year. He would be eligible for salary arbitration next winter and would be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season.
The 26-year-old hit .281 with four homers, 47 RBIs and 13 stolen bases last year, when he won his first Gold Glove for outstanding defensive play.
Lagares said the sides have been talking for the past week or two and he would like finalize a deal before Monday’s opener.
”After the season starts, I just want to play baseball,” Lagares said. ”Not think about anything else, just play. Just keep doing what I’ve been doing the best – work hard and play hard.”