The news from Mets camp that Yoenis Cespedes was being placed on the DL list for an indeterminate period was not surprising as much as it is curious about the inner workings of the Mets organization and Cespedes himself. Here’s a different take on what’s happening….
Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets, take note. When Miguel Cabrera, the 35-year-old veteran and future Hall of Famer from the Detroit Tigers tells ESPN “his efforts to play through injuries have been unappreciated, and he is “done playing hurt,” I listen. Because there are empathy and understanding based on the credibility he’s built up over the years, not only with Tigers fans but fans of baseball everywhere.
Cabrera, currently on the 10-day DL, adds, “Nobody appreciates you when you play hurt, so I’m going to take my time and play when I’m good. I played hurt a lot of years here in Detroit. They don’t appreciate that.” Cabrera will not escape completely, and there will be a backlash to his statement.
He’s battled hamstring, groin, back, biceps, and calf injuries just in the last few years. But here’s the kicker. Miguel Cabrera is playing his sixteenth year in the big leagues, and this is the first time he has been on the DL. What can be said of Yoenis Cespedes and his most recent injury requiring a stint on the DL?
Well, you get nothing from Cespedes who declined to comment, leaving management to inexplicably speak of their left fielder as the second coming of Cal Ripken. Here’s Mickey Callaway speaking to Newsday:
Say what? Did Callaway say it’s just wear and tear on a body through an entire major league season? The way things are going for the Mets it probably seems like two major league seasons, but I’m sorry to tell the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes, you have only played forty games this year.
Callaway was also quoted as saying (Newsday), “He was improving while he was playing. That kind of stopped. Let’s take a different route and make sure we are cautious with him and get him back to being the Yoenis Cespedes he can be sooner.”
Which raises another question that warrants an answer. Why did the improvement in Cespedes’s play stop? There wasn’t a play in the field or an at-bat that might have created a setback. And yet Callaway goes out of his way to convince us that Yoenis Cespedes did everything the team asked him to do this time. If you can believe it, he even stopped playing golf.
Even from the horse’s mouth, it all sounded good two months ago, didn’t it?
Sorry, I’m not buying it. And since the always wise Supreme Court has ruled that wagering on baseball is good for America and will be coming soon to a bar near you, I’ll make a baseball bet to get things rolling.
When the truth is told, it was Yoenis Cespedes who took himself out of the lineup because he, like Miguel Cabrera, was tired of playing hurt, even though his 37 games played this season hardly reckons with the 16 years Cabrera put in before he cried, uncle.
As for the Mets, what do you say about a player you felt compelled to sign for almost $90 million after he has worked his way through four other teams in only seven big league seasons? You can’t trash him, he’s yours, and you bought him lock, stock, and a barrel of discontent wherever he’s been.
You ask for proof that any of this is true. I have none. I have only the baseball acumen I have gained from following and studying baseball for more than a half-century, and the feeling that something ain’t right here.
Moreover, the Mets are overreacting to their pledge to be more cautious with players who get injured. But strangely, that’s true only in the case of Yoenis Cespedes. Jacob deGrom came back from a brief stay on the DL and managed to last only one inning on Sunday. Let’s be a fly on the wall and hear the story on that one.
MRI’s are very precise. And as the season moves along, the Mets can take any player on their squad, order an MRI, and it’s almost guaranteed the test will reveal something that could if the team wanted to, place the player on the DL.
That’s what happened here when Yoenis Cespedes decided to take his ball and go home. The more significant question though is why the Mets are putting up with his shenanigans, instead of going all-out to figure a way of cutting ties with their problem child, or just telling him to get his ass out there, play, and stop your whining.
For Sandy Alderson, where there’s a will there’s a way. Because he just proved it by finding a suitor for Matt Harvey, and in the course of the deal Alderson might have even solved the Mets catching problem, at least for this year.
Here’s a fact. The production, and make no mistake the Mets need it, that Yoenis Cespedes brings to the Mets, or any other team for that matter will never offset all the b—s—t that comes along with the man.
And the longer the Mets continue to ignore what’s staring at them in their face, the longer Mets fans and the 24 other players in the clubhouse will have to suffer or make excuses as with Callaway for Yoenis Cespedes.