The outfield is the Mets' most pressing issue offensively. Juan Lagares could very well be the Mets center fielder of the future, but left field and right field are both still up for grabs.
Lagares was initially a platoon center fielder, but with improved hitting and breathtaking defense, he has certainly earned the starting job he now has. If any current Mets outfielder could be a lock to start in 2014, it would be Lagares.
Lagares' defense is already above average. If his hitting continues to improve, the Mets could have a very solid role player anchoring the outfield. For the season, Lagares is batting .256 with four home runs, 30 RBI, a .295 OBP and a .371 slugging percentage.
The other two outfield positions are now the larger concerns. Eric Young Jr. has played reasonably well as the Mets left fielder since June with a .256 average, one home run, 21 RBI, a .331 OBP and a .338 slugging percentage since being acquired from the Rockies. He has also brought some much needed speed with 38 stolen bases this season (30 as a Met).
The Mets did not have this kind of speed at all in 2012, so that has been one upgrade this season. Young could be better off as a fourth outfielder on a more elite team and if the Mets can find an upgrade at left field, Young could be sent to the bench.
Right field this season was mostly handled by Marlon Byrd until his trade to the Pirates in August.
Going forward, none of the Mets' right field options look particularly promising. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown all do not have significant experience as everyday players. The Mets could also choose to go with a more defensive oriented outfield if they feel like Matt den Dekker's defense would be good enough to make up for his weaker bat. Being that Lagares has a very good and accurate outfield arm, the Mets could put him in right field and den Dekker in center field if both are in the outfield.
In the minor leagues, most of the Mets' remaining outfield prospects, aside from den Dekker, are not close to being major league ready. Such outfield prospects would include Cesar Puello, Cory Vaughn and Brandon Nimmo, among others.
Nonetheless, the Mets could really use a significant upgrade in the outfield this offseason, and if any outfield position is most likely to look different in 2014, it would probably be right field. Lagares has proven himself to be an everyday center fielder and Eric Young Jr.'s speed could be enough to keep him in left field.
There is no clear cut starter right now in right field for 2014, so look for the Mets to find an answer there.