What can the Mets expect from Yoenis Cespedes and does the often injured and controversial outfielder fit in the plan? We have come to know there is never a dull moment.
And GM Brodie Van Wagenen knows that Cespedes, the contract, and playing time is in his hands.
We do know, as witnessed in the Mets’ 2015 championship run, that Yoenis Cespedes, when healthy, can be a cog in the lineup. But when not, the Mets have survived and can do without him.
So last week it was here we go again, a contract that was restructured for the 2020 season, $29.5 million in the final year of a four-year deal to a guaranteed $ 6 million.
Cespedes and a run-in with a boar at his ranch was the story.
Instead of chasing fly balls in the outfield, hitting home runs out of the ballpark, Cespedes, a horse at his ranch, caused a violent fall. Two right fractures to his ankles that kept him sidelined last season were finally the official cause.
Mets officials and his representatives visited the ranch. MLB Commissioner office officials and those from the players Association also knocked on his door.
And so it goes, you know the story, The Yoenis Cespedes mess with the Mets drags on and gets more interesting with the complications.
Cespedes, according to sources, is in playing shape. He was quoted last week saying he will hit over 40 home runs this coming season. Cespedes said this will be a breakout year in the walk-off deal of a contract with the Mets that could increase to $11 million if he is on the Opening Day roster.
The contract can be prorated if he misses more time and joins the team later.
Complications, yes, because the Mets need to make decisions as to where their troubled and high profiled player belongs. And there is not much time to make those decisions with spring training on the horizon in six weeks and still with decisions as to who will command the outfield.
In many ways, the Cespedes situation can be seen as fulfilling a contract and the Mets hierarchy would rather not eat the remaining part of this.
Allowing their problem to walk away, that’s a predicament.
Because a healthy and effective Yoeneis Cespedes, for the Mets, or any other team, can make a difference and that is the predicament. You just don’t know and the Mets protected themselves with the restructured contract.
So, let’s play the role of the GM here. Let’s project that Yoneis Cespedes is in the starting lineup at Citi Field come Opening Day, March 26th at Citi Field.
Assume that Cespedes is in the lineup, then project him in the third slot or cleanup and starting in right or left.
If no Cespedes, and if GM Brodie Van Wagenen does not pull off another of his creative moves, assume J.D. Davis has an outfield sport or newly acquired Jake Marisnick.
Otherwise the lineup could look like this:
Brandon Nimmo- Centerfield , Jeff McNeil at Third, Pete Alonso First Base, Robinson Cano at Second, J.D. Davis Leftfield, Michael Conforto Rightfield, Wilson Ramos-Catcher, Amed Rosario- Shortstop.
Bench: Cespedes (If on roster), Jed Lowrie (If not traded), Dom Smith (If not traded) and Marisnick to start the season. There is flexibility here and again, just an assumption, so don’t draw conclusions.
Basically, it comes down to where and how Yoenis Cespedes will fit into this entire equation. Do say this, if Pete Alonso continues where he left off, a rookie home run record (53), and if Cespedes becomes an everyday player and hits those 40 or more home runs, the Mets have a potent lineup.
But let’s wait. Because the Yoenis Cespedes drama has not reached a final chapter with the New York Mets.
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