Mets sometime left fielder Yoenis Cespedes must have thought he was untouchable because he could hit a baseball. That is until he ran into the Mets.
The Mets levied a form of frontier justice against Yoenis Cespedes he couldn’t have seen coming. There was no trial by jury, only a settlement that revealed his guilt and ended a game of hardball.
Cespedes, who has appeared in a total of 119 games for the Mets in the last three seasons, takes a big hit in his bank account.
This includes having to make a withdrawal to pay back a portion of his 2019 salary due to his inactivity.
It all stems from a tale told by Cespedes to the Mets last May about a walk he took on his ranch, and how his foot fell into a hole breaking several bones in his ankle.
The Mets didn’t believe him and filed a grievance arguing the injuries were caused by “non-baseball related activity.”
What irked the Mets, though, is that Cespedes was working to the end of his rehab for double-heel surgery when the mishap occurred.
We can ask and wonder what stance the Mets would take if the same circumstances surrounded Jacob deGrom or Pete Alonso.
Mets ensure what goes around comes around
But it should take only a second or two to know this is a clear case of gift-wrapped just desserts from the Mets to Cespedes, and they went for the jugular.
Fittingly, Cespedes will be operating on a pay-as-you-play basis in 2020. The more he plays, the more he gets paid.
The Mets will take what they can get, but there is no need now for the team to babysit his rehab. From here forward, it’s on him.
To be sure, the Mets acted in their best interests. The settlement should get the Mets’ luxury-tax figure beneath the $208 million thresholds, reduced from where they stood previously at about $220 million.
Whew, what a relief
With the added payroll flexibility, the Mets can now be in play to sign reliever Dellin Betances for their bullpen. The on-again-off-again trade talks with the Pirates about centerfielder Starling Marte can also be renewed.
The Mets still have their most significant trade piece in Dominic Smith for Brodie Van Wagenen to use in a deal.
Even if it requires getting a player commanding a higher salary than they would have been in play for before the Cespedes settlement.
A third option exists, which is to do nothing until the season gets to the July trade deadline.
By then, the Mets will have a better idea of what they’re going to get from recently acquired Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, as well whether or not Edwin Diaz is still afflicted with whatever it was that tormented him.
Besides, there will be a clearer picture by then of the transition in ownership from the Wilpons to Steve Cohen.
Mets moving on – Cespedes, who knows?
In any case, the Mets are better off today than they were yesterday. Yoenis Cespedes was cancer when they traded for him in 2015, and that never changed.
The heroics Cespedes supplied in getting the Mets to the World Series that season reminds of the thoroughbred sprinting out of the gate only to be caught by the pack at the first turn, never to be a factor again.
This sets the record straight in a fair and balanced way that allows both the team and Cespedes to move on from what has been a nightmare.
Cespedes can play catchup if he chooses to – otherwise – who cares?