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Tag: cespedes

It’s the Last Dance For Cespedes and the Mets

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

File photo/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

There are two lines a professional athlete in this city simply can’t cross. One is to not hustle. The other is to be selfish.

Yeonis Cespedes has crossed both.

New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 /File photo /Neil Miller/The New York extra/copyright 2020

Of  course, he also flashed enough of his prodigious power and potent arm to be embraced by the World Championship-starved fans that flock to Citi Field each season with endless hope, a pilgrimage as mystical as any in religion.

That Cespedes no longer exists. The man once known as La Potencia (The Power) should now be known as El Jabali (The Bore). It isn’t funny.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Cespedes is one of those rare Major Leaguers to have been touched by the forefinger of the Lord of Baseball. His swing is majestic; his throws explosive. His glove, golden in 2015, tarnished from the World Series on.

By the time Cespedes arrived at Spring Training a few weeks ago, his reputation was  as tarnished as a subway station stair rail. His declaration that he would not speak to the media should have been met with ‘who cares shrugs.”

02/03/16 Yeonis Cespedes press conference at Citi Field Queens N.Y. Yeonis Cespedes talks to the press with Sandy Alderson left and Jeff Wilpon right/File photo /Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Cespedes has said enough without speaking over the last four seasons to make one thing clear. Cespedes had crossed the lines from hero to bore, uh, goat. He was no longer a player worthy of respect because he had stopped respecting the game.

This awkward dance started at the end of the 2016 season, after Cespedes had performed well enough in 132 games (31 homers; 892 OPS) to opt out of his three-year $75 million contract. He signed a four-year, $110-million deal that included the treasured no trade clause.

The Mets were stuck with him.

They were willing to overlook the 108 strikeouts, the red flag that he was on his fourth team in six seasons, and the embarrassing revelation that his hamstring injury was severe enough to end his season, but not his golf game.

New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 /File photo/Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

His 2017 season lasted 81 games. The following season saw him on the field for 38 games. He needed surgery on both heels. It would be too cynical to suggest Cespedes didn’t play because he had nothing to play for, too cynical.

Cespedes regained his desire to speak publicly on Sunday. When asked, on a scale of 1-to-10 what he would rate his motivation for this season he responded, “12!” Of course, it is. In a reworked deal, Cespedes will earn $6 million if he doesn’t play, a minimum of $11 million if he’s not on the injured list on Opening Day.

A healthy, incentivized Cespedes could put up big numbers. He could offer protection in the lineup for Pete Alonzo. He could be taking crucial at bats or celebrating a World Series victory when he turns 35 on October 18th.

Then the Mets can happily let Cespedes cross any line he wants. As long as he’s walking away.

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Yoenis Cespedes Was Silent And We Need To Get Answers

“Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year.” 

File Photo /Neil Miller/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

Welcome to the 2020 baseball season of Yoenis Cespedes. Yes, those were his comments, Monday, when he emerged on the field down in Port St. Lucie. He saw the media and those were his first comments in over a year.

Nothing new, and of course nothing gained. This is the world of Yoenis Cespedes. This is common ground for the Mets high profiled player that will play out the final year of a contract that was restructured.

File Photo /Neil Miller/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

So there was nothing interesting or new to report. Yoenis Cespedes, was himself and there should be no shock. However, he owes Mets fans more about today, tomorrow, and the months ahead. 

File Photo /Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

He said, “I don’t want to,” when asked for some comments. And from all indications, unless Cespedes, needs to acclimate again, we will never get a response about the new contract and incidents with wild boars at his nearby ranch that resulted in a fractured ankle

Before that, multiple surgeries to remove calcification from two heels. And all of this was unexpected. We needed more explanations and that hardly came. 

From the beginning, when he arrived in New York, the July 31, 2015 trade deadline, this has all been about Yoenis Cespedes. He hardly gave the right words, then, in a productive second half of the season that helped the Mets to the World Series. 

And he was a loss for words, after re-signing with the Mets, a lucrative three-year $75 million contract a year later with an opt out.  

And then more a loss of words, recurring injuries, that kept him off the field. His last game with the Mets, July 20, 2018, before the restructured contract from $26.million to $ 6 million with incentives.

We still want to know his outlook for 2020. How will Yoenis Cespedes work his way  back into a Mets lineup that could use his bat. Left field, first base? Off the bench?

Position and where in the lineup will be determined, a task for rookie manager Luis Rojas. Attitude and avoiding the media, a task. The frustration for yours truly and those who cover the Mets on a daily basis leaves room for more questions.

But nothing new, except this is the big market team. New York, and with a big market player that will eventually have to come out of hibernation and answer the questions. 

Most of all, Mets fans do deserve to get the answers. This was the high profiled free agent they wanted. The Wipons, they can;t be blamed. They pursued and signed the player, a free agent sort of a bust along the lines of Mo Vaughn and other bad contracts that arrived in Flushing.

So, don’t blame Fred and Jeff Wilpon here. They made the move, but it backfired.  But, Yoeneis Cespedes has to speak. Eventually he will. 

What is more important, and hoped, is a healthy Yoenis Cespedes on the field. In the  lineup, if productive, the Mets will be that much better and in the hunt for a division title or wild card spot.

 Luis Rojas, in the meantime, will do the talking for Yoenis Cespedes. The manager has a first hand look at the mood and updates where his high profiled player stands.

“It’s a big day for him,” said Rojas. “He joined the guys and that’s where our focus is going to be with him. He’s being able to progress into playing at some point. We don’t have a timetable. That’s our focus right now.”

But, Yoenis Cespedes will never help his cause, more so with the media, if he refuses to face the media. More importantly, the responsibility to answer comes with being that big time player in New York.

Over the years, Alex Rodriguez, amidst the controversy, would duck the media numerous times in a clubhouse across town in the Bronx with the Yankees. 

We adjusted then, Eventually, A-Rod would face the music, and In so many ways that was worse with a steroid controversy, At the time, a complicated contract, highest in the game, made it more difficult to get the answers.

However, through it all, Yoenis Cespedes, is no Alex Rodriguez. One World Series with the Mets, that was Cesepdes. Production on the field that came from A-Rod and a 2009 World Series for the Yankees. 

But the mood and character of the players, very similar, in a city of New York that expects a high profiled player to live up to the contract and face the music, either good or bad.

Tuesday is another day, Yoenis Cespedes will be on the field down In Port St. Lucie.

Not today, not tomorrow, not all year, is not what we want to hear.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twityer@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Yoenis Cespedes Is The Mets Question

Yeonis Cespedes file photo /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

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.

File photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

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.

File Photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

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. 

File photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

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.


Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso