Mets occasional left-fielder, Yoenis Cespedes, extended an unsolicited promise to remain silent in the presence of the media. If only he means it.
The Mets problem child is at it again. No wild boar confessions this time, instead we have something much better – Yoenis Cespedes has vowed to remain silent for the entire 2020 season.
Cespedes could not cite any particular reason why, when asked yesterday at the Mets Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Instead, he muttered, “Because I don’t want to”. Wonderful Yoenis, whatever you say is fine with me.
Remember, though, say no more. You promised.
The Mets and Cespedes Are On A Collision Course
At some point, this season, the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes will collide, and the result will not be pretty. Cespedes has a history of clashing with every team he has played for, and if not for injuries, his collision with the Mets would already have occurred.
Cespedes cannot hit enough home runs to outweigh the distraction he is (and will continue to be) to the Mets.
Already, on the very first day, the full team is on the field, Cespedes is the lead story on the back pages of New York newspapers – and it’s not because of anything he has contributed on the field.
What is disturbing is the Mets have a unit that was tendered and seasoned during the second half of the 2019 season.
The team percolated that resonance during the offseason with reports coming from everywhere, ruing that Spring Training seemed so far away.
Also, in the upbeat category are the trades Van Wagenen did not make. Dominic Smith and Jed Lowrie are both still on the Mets, with Lowrie showing positive signs he will return from injuries suffered last year sooner rather than later.
Newly appointed manager, Luis Rojas, bounced around camp yesterday like a kid in a candy store, displaying genuine enthusiasm about his players and the upcoming season.
It was a picture-perfect scene as fans followed players from the main field to the practice fields, seeking autographs and photographs.
The Mets reveled in the attention, happy to be sweating again and engaged in baseball activities.
Yoenis Cespedes: An Outlier And A Chameleon
Ironically, the only person with a sour demeanor at camp yesterday was Yoenis Cespedes.
He’s taking his ball and going home, cloistered in the comfort of those self-promotional videos he sprayed on us over the winter, courtesy of Roc Nation.
“This is a big day for him,” new manager Luis Rojas said as Cespedes was taking cuts in the batting cage.
Check that – it should have been a big day for him. A day he could have been hopping around the field greeting and joking with his teammates.
Instead, Yoenis Cespedes steered the spotlight over to himself.
Luis Rojas knows he is charged with the onus to treat each of his players equally. But he has to be thinking to himself; this guy is different from the norm on this team. And he is going to require time I don’t have…
Yoenis Cespedes is an outlier and a chameleon. Moody, as all hell, he can charm the daylights out of anyone when he wants to, only to come back the next day to say as he did yesterday, “because I don’t want to”.
Good Cop Rojas – Bad Cop Van Wagenen
What can the Mets do about it? They have all the ammunition they need to control Cespedes this year in the details of his reworked contract. Use it.
His 2020 base salary is dropping from $29.5MM to just $6MM, according to a report from Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
However, that number will hike up to $11MM as soon as Cespedes is on the active roster or the IL with an injury unrelated to the contentious ankle fracture.
That $5 million is on the table for either side’s taking. Make Cespedes work for every penny of it. Do not let him set the pace of his workouts.
Challenge him every step of the way to at least try to ensure he’s not going to “reinjure himself” the day following his reinstatement from the IL – and five million dollars richer.
Rojas can continue to play the good cop with Cespedes, but Brodie Van Wagen needs to jump in there as the bad cop, representing the best interest of the Mets, and believe it or not, the Wilpons.
Meanwhile, I wouldn’t take bets on how long this self-imposed silence will last. This Mets fan, for one, wishes for the betterment of the team, it will last forever.