Forgive the satire, please. But the news today from Omar Minaya that Cespedes does not figure heavily in the Mets plans in 2019 is a blessing in disguise.
We begin with a direct quote from Omar Minaya, the former GM of the Mets who still sits prominently somewhere in the hierarchy of their front office. Responding to a query about Yoenis Cespedes, Minaya bluntly stated, “If he gives us anything this year, that is great, we’re happy for that.”
For the Mets organization and where they stand today as a team on the move and trending up, there couldn’t have been any better news coming from the Mets camp. More on that thought in a minute.
David Lennon, writing in Newsday, summarized Yoesnis Cespedes and his career with the Mets to date this way: “Since the Mets made Cespedes the highest-paid outfielder in the sport (by annual salary) with a four-year, $110-million contract in 2016, he has played a total of 119 games in two seasons, batting .282 with an .869 OPS while averaging 13 homers and 36 RBIs.”
In a macabre twist of fate, it was Brodie Van Wagenen, the Mets current General Manager, who negotiated that contract for Yoenis Cespedes – as his agent at the time. Now, of course, Van Wagenen, on behalf of the Mets, is saddled, not only with the precious few dollars in the team’s coiffure to pay Cespedes but the problem of what to do with him once he is pronounced fit and ready to play again.
For those coming on board as a Mets fan recently, Yoenis Cespedes had burned himself through three teams before reaching the Mets during that illustrious summer in 2015 when let’s give credit where credit is due; he singlehandedly carried the Mets to within a hair of reaching the World Series.
That outburst of production, plus the conundrum coming from fans that winter for the Mets to “do something big”, led the team to invite Yoenis Cespedes back for the next four years, ultimately catapulting the Mets to where they are now with Cespedes.
In most cases, major league clubhouses remain the domain of the players, and whatever happens there, stays there. But in the case of Cespedes, a reputation was established and openly reported on to the point, I suppose, where if you hear something often enough it becomes a truth.
John Delcos, for instance, way back in December 2014 when writing for New York Mets Report, had this say about Yoenis Cespedes: “Reportedly, Cespedes has open contempt for the city of Boston and disregards the Red Sox’s coaching staff. He was a headache in Boston, and there’s no guarantee he won’t be the same in New York, no matter how much they move in the fences.”
Still, as they say, where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. Not surprisingly, the Mets have experienced their share of problems with the behavior of Cespedes at times. Mets fans will recall the team’s need to rein Cespedes in when they questioned his ability to play golf every day while balking when placed in the lineup by Terry Collins that night.
Forget all that though, and let’s get right to the point, which is that Yoenis Cespedes is no longer a fit for the New York Mets. Arguably, he never was, but as we sit here today, the Mets are a team knocking on the door in the National League East. Cespedes, productive or not, is a distraction to that endeavor, in a way, for instance, that Michael Conforto, who the Mets are counting on to have a productive season, and free from his recovery from surgery last year, is not.
Oh yes, to be sure there is that elephant in the room, and all that $$. But much like the case with David Wright, once the Mets decide to part ways with Cespedes, everything is negotiable. Enter the team lawyers and the actuaries from the Mets insurance company, and a deal is realized for the Mets to receive X percent of Cespedes’s remaining salary of about $58 million.
We don’t know the details (yet), but reportedly Wright left $21 million on the table when he retired at the end of the 2018 season. If accurate, good for David, and it speaks even further to the character of the man. With Cespedes, there is zero chance of that happening, which is also a testament to his character as a person.
There is also a zero chance the Mets can trade Cespedes without eating a good portion of that money, so what’s the point of going there? And besides, is there a fifth team out there who would want him?
No, the Mets have a good thing going here. The team is not done adding players who can help in 2019. And if things don’t work out for the Mets this season by reaching the playoffs, there is a genuine chance, and not the usual wish and a prayer, that they’ll be better next year – and the year after that.
Omar Minaya, at least by inference, has set the stage and rung the bell calling for the departure of Yoenis Cespedes. Hopefully, the Mets don’t drop the ball, and Van Wagenen finds his way to redemption for his “sins of the past” with Cespedes.