Yoenis Cespedes has been featured on the back page of New York newspapers twice in the last week. It’s where he longs to be, and the Mets will suffer for it.
Yoenis Cespedes is what used to be called in baseball a showboater. He’s the player on the team who can’t get enough of himself, constantly inventing ways to draw attention that feeds a massive ego.
Showboating is an art, however, and the line is a thin one between those who pass the public scrutiny test, and those who wind up scorned as an ass___ by fans who recognize a con when they see one. We recall two of the most prominent.
Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson are two of baseball’s most recognizable showboaters in baseball’s modern era.
Yoenis Cespedes: A Showboating Distraction
You’ll recall it was Henderson who, when he stole second base to become baseball’s all-time leader, didn’t waste time to pull the base from its post in the ground, raising it high over his head, proclaiming, “Today I am the greatest of all time.”
Few had reason to object.
But Reggie Jackson took a different approach to proclaim his greatness.
“This team, it all flows from me. I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Maybe I should say Thurman Munson and me, but he can only stir it bad.”
And so we have one winner and one semi-loser. You have Rickey Henderson, who lights up his page on Baseball-Reference with bold black type indicating he was a league leader in that category.
And then, there’s Reggie Jackson whose main claim to fame is the three home runs he hit on consecutive pitches against the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.
A mighty feat, no doubt. Just like the herculean feat, Yoenis Cespedes accomplished in 2015 for the New York Mets following his exile from the Detroit Tigers via a trade.
Fifty-seven games, seventeen home runs, and forty-four RBI by Cespedes is widely said to have propelled the Mets to a World Series they eventually lost to the Kansas City Royals.
A Moment In Time And No Claim To Fame
Ironically, those same fire-breathers spreading the Gospel of Cespedes do not pay the same attention to his three for twenty (.150 BA) with no home runs and a lone run batted in (RBI).
Yoesnis Cespedes is cancer that will continue to grow on the Mets as a distraction.
It will pop its head from beneath the surface whenever Cespedes hears the call telling him he needs to recharge his batteries.
I’m not talking anymore to you guys. Ah, check that. I’ll talk as long as there are no questions about “what happened on the ranch”.
Not that the ranch and the “boar story” matter. As Cespedes argues, that’s the past.
Ironically though, it’s the present and the immediate future that should concern the Mets and their fans more than anything.
Because there’s more of this showboating on the way from Cespedes, he can’t help himself, but the Mets can (help themselves).
Mets: Take The Step, Worry About It Later
Now, what does that mean? First and foremost, the Mets need to do everything they can to ensure, even at the promise of a grievance coming their way, that Yoenis Cespedes is not removed from the Injured List when the team moves North to begin the season.
This will save the Mets $5 million right off the bat.
But more significantly, it will save the Mets having to deal with the showboating nature of Cespedes at the expense of the team.
And speaking of the team, these Mets are solid, not only in left field where Yoenis Cespedes occasionally plays but as a unit in the clubhouse that was percolated in 2019 and ready to serve in 2020.
Moreover, there’s nothing that says the 30 home runs and 90 RBI Cespedes, if he can stay on the field, will generate, will not be matched or exceeded by the trio in left field of J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Dominic Smith.
And to boot – without a negative or “me” peep from any of them.
Cespedes: We Won’t Get Fooled Again
All the Mets need to do, and this can be either Luis Rojas or Brodie Van Wagenen, is to say, Cespedes, “looks good but he is not quite ready to perform at the level the Mets need him to be at as we begin the 2020 season.”
Bam, boom, done. Let the rest of it follow as Roc Nation, and Cespedes get all bent out of shape.
Let the PR team post more videos about how beautiful Cespedes is, and the charges filed with the Player’s Association.
At that point, who cares? Let the process work its way through the red tape. But meanwhile, Yoenis Cespedes is a mere footnote in Mets news, easy to ignore.
And that’s why the tandem of Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Jacob deGrom, and Michael Conforto, et al. demand our attention on the field – where it counts – in the standings and not on the back pages…