We all know the importance of Yoenis Cespedes in the middle part of the Mets' lineup. Stealing a line from Reggie Jackson, he is the straw that stirs the drink. With that being said, the Mets have had a dreadful offense this season. They have struggled with runners in scoring position and are 28th in all of major league baseball in runs scored. After he was acquired last season on July 31, he hit .287 in 57 games with 17 HR and 44 RBI. He lit a fire with the Mets that was ultimately extinguished by the Royals in the World Series. This season, he has been very good. In 94 games, he has hit .292 with 22 HR and 59 RBI. He was brought back on a 3-year $75 million dollar contract with an opt-out after the first season in which Cespedes would be paid $27.5 million dollars. It is a very weak free-agency class this off season and Cespedes would certainly be the best outfield offensive option and that is when he will likely cash in on a long-term contract.
Put all that aside and let’s just deal with the here and now. You are starting to get signals of why MLB teams are hesitant to sign Cespedes to a long-term guaranteed contract. If you did not understand why teams were unwilling to give him a 6-year contract, well now you are starting to figure it out some of the reason why. It all comes down to a word, trust. After injuring his quad, he made it clear that he did not want to play centerfield. He wanted to protect his quad and playing center put too much strain on his legs. Fair enough, but let’s also remember what made Cespedes attractive to the Mets in the first place and that was his willingness to play center field. So, in essence, he is going back on what he initially agreed to do when joining the team last year and coming back to the team as a free agent.
Mercifully, Cespedes is now on the DL. He was placed on the disabled list because of a quad that he suffered in early July. But instead of the Mets putting him on the DL at the time, they tried to massage the situation. They wanted to see if they could rest him here or there and have that quad heal while he was still playing. That is a very tricky line to walk if you are Terry Collins and the Mets and last Wednesday night, they walked off of the cliff. After pinch hitting Cespedes Tuesday night at Citi Field with a 5-0 lead, the Mets finally saw the finish line and were able to DH him in Game 3 of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately for the Mets and Cespedes, he reinjured his quad in his final at-bat on his second to last swing on the evening.
The story came out earlier in the day that Cespedes was out enjoying a round of golf before the Yankees-Mets game in the Bronx last Wednesday. Former MLB player and current analyst Kevin Millar tweeted out a picture of himself and Cespedes at a golf course. You can’t do it. In no uncertain terms, you can’t play golf when you are hurt. This is not a causal relationship between playing golf and the re-injuring of his quad. When manager Terry Collins came out and defended his player, it was certainly understandable. What he said in the defense of Cespedes, was not. You can’t compare playing golf to going fishing, that did not make sense in any way shape or form.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson did say it was a ‘bad optic’ and he is correct. I do not carry if playing golf relaxes Cespedes. I don’t care if the Mets agreed to it when they brought him back. I don’t care if playing golf causes no damage to the quad muscle. He is being played to play baseball and the Mets' goal this season is to try and win a World Series and if you are hurt, you can’t partake in any athletic endeavor in your spare time. Sometimes life is difficult to understand, this should not be one of those examples.