Kevin Pillar is essentially the player the Mets hoped Juan Lagares would evolve into. Yes, Lagares would always be challenged as far as getting on base at a strong clip, but the Mets saw the potential for more power and steals to go along with quality defense in center.
That never came for Lagares. If anything, his offense regressed last season and the Mets declined his $9.5 million option for 2020, deciding to try to find a better all-around option. And now there is Pillar — born two months before Lagares in 1989 — sitting on the market.
What was bad for players Monday — 56 of them, including Pillar, being non-tendered — was favorable for all teams, particularly clubs planning to spend little this offseason such as the Mets. From Economics 101, supply in free agency just expanded considerably, which tends to lower prices. The Mets are trying to make upgrades at the financial margins (read: not in the Anthony Rendon market or even in the retaining Zack Wheeler market).
They will try to problem solve in the trade market. Mets executives have made “being creative” their mantra, which translates roughly to washing money by trading, say, Jed Lowrie (owed $10…