The Mets have to be thinking it would be better for everyone if Yoenis Cespedes fades into the sunset, never to be seen or heard from again. If only…
How many Mets fans are still out there holding onto the memory of Yoenis Cespedes riding in on his white horse to save the day for the team in 2015 when he hit a gazillion home runs to lead the Mets to the World Series?
That sure was a long time ago. It was back in the day when a loaf of bread cost $1.50, a faint memory of the $2.50 we pay today for the same loaf.
But inflation seems to escape Yoenis Cespedes. If anything, Cespedes has latched onto deflation to define his career with the Mets since then.
His chart for games played resembles the arc of a meteor falling from the sky – 83 games in 2017, 38 games in 2018, and a big fat zero in 2019.
Mets and Cespedes at a crossroad
The good news, though, is this is the last season the Mets have the Cespedes albatross holding them back. The team owes him $29.5 million for the 2020 season, regardless of whether he plays for the New York Mets or not.
But that’s the end of the contract, and from there it’s adieu, good-bye, sayonara, adios – see ya. Enjoy your money.
It’s that one more year though – this year – that’s bound to cause pain and suffering for the team, fans, and most especially Brodie Van Wagenen and Carlos Beltran if Cespedes decides to be the anti-Jacoby Ellsbury, pronouncing himself fit and ready to play.
If anything, the Mets already have more outfielders than they can use from their 2019 roster. J.D. Davis did more than enough to earn the spot in left field in 2020.
By rights, Michael Conforto should be relieved of his duties in center field so he can move back to right field. The Mets need a legitimate center fielder, but in no way can Cespedes handle that position even if he were 200% healthy.
Plus, there Brandon Nimmo and Dominic Smith, both good players with substantial upside, with no place to call home.
Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Starling Marte – the names are all out there as trade options for Van Wagenen to pursue this winter.
Mets: Do the old rope-a-dope
If you haven’t guessed already, the Mets need to do a rope-a-dope with Yoenis Cespedes. He’s been run out of town in Detroit, Oakland, and Boston as persona-non-grata before the Mets adopted him into their fold. Here’s how you do it…
You release a statement every once in a while where Brodie Van Wagenen, who happens to be Cespedes’ former agent, did on Monday saying it’s “too early to tell” about his chances of playing in 2020. There’s not “enough information to predict when he’s going to be back.”
That buys the Mets more time before the next step, which is to have Cespedes undergo a series of tests performed by team doctors. Oh, so sorry. It doesn’t look like Ellsbury, excuse me, Cespedes is going to be able to resume “baseball activities” for a minimum of six weeks. Repeat when necessary.
In the interim, the days are piling up, and counting toward the fifty to sixty percent of the $30 million the Mets can recoup from the insurance policy they have on Cespedes.
Regretfully, no matter what they do with Cespedes in 2020, there is no relief coming this year towards the team’s payroll budget or charges against the luxury tax threshold. The Mets own Yoenis Cespedes, period, for this year.
No need to be nice – play the game
The Mets can play the game the way other teams do with Cespedes – if they choose to do so. The Yankees are the poster child with Ellsbury, but you can bet the Angels will be doing the same as Albert Pujols eventually fades into memory before his contract is up in 2021 for $30 million.
Ditto the Boston Red Sox and the $96 million they owe injury-riddled and rapidly declining David Price.
Just don’t let Yoenis Cespedes walk through the clubhouse door in a year when the Mets have momentum from a team inspiring second-half of 2019.
As the Washington Nationals proved after succeeding postseason failures, that all-elusive team chemistry – when it’s found – is an “aha” moment that money can’t buy and Yoenis Cespedes can’t supply…