All in. Going for it. However you want to describe it, the Mets are making a play for not only making the playoffs for a third straight season but are trying to win a World Series for the first time since 1986. Mets fans throughout this great city should be walking around this holiday season with a grin from ear to ear because Yo is back. The Mets officially re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $110 million. The story broke on Tuesday and he was officially introduced at a 5 p.m. news conference this past Wednesday.
No more complaining about lack of spending. No more talk of patience or wait until next year. The Mets have brought back a player that has not only thrived in this city but has probably played his best baseball. After all, they have a 106-74 record with him in the starting lineup and 18-23 without him in the lineup.
They also brought back a player that they had to bring back in order to challenge the Washington Nationals for the NL East crown and the Cubs and others for the NL pennant. It is not about his personality anymore, it is about his performance. In 189 games in a Mets uniform, he has hit 48 HRs and driven in 130 runs. He has made everyone around him better.
He was not GM Sandy Alderson’s first choice on July 31, 2015, to help bolster the Mets lineup. He became, with his performance, his only choice and when the Mets got wind that Cespedes was willing to play ball on a four-year contract, it was a marriage that needed to happen again. This is not about winning the negotiations, this is about a player that fits this team and this city. Jay Bruce was acquired this past July to help bolster the 2016 Mets lineup and also provide insurance in case Cespedes decided to take his talents elsewhere. Bruce was a disaster. He struggled, hitting just .219 with eight HRs and 19 RBIs in 50 games and found his way to the bench. The way that Bruce struggled further accentuated the brilliance of Cespedes because you had a prime example staring you in the face of two players who can and can’t cut it in this city.
New York City is not made for everyone. It is the city that never sleeps. A lot is expected of you and if you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. Sometimes the expectations we place on our athletes is unfair, sometimes not so much. Pressure is the word. Some can handle the pressure and the expectations and some can’t. Cespedes did and will and Bruce did not. Ultimately, the Mets found out that Bruce was not insurance policy for Cespedes leaving, but it further magnified the importance of Cespedes to the organization. The Jay Bruce failure worked in favor of Yoenis Cespedes.
The deal does come with risk, no question. Cespedes does play too much golf and can give an organization a migraine or two over the course of a baseball season, but he hits. Is there a fear that he will not be as motivated? Sure. But sometimes you have to risk it for greatness. Plus, Cespedes thrives in the spotlight and loves being “the man.” I am willing to run the risk that his competitive nature will overcome any bouts of contentment after getting the long term contract that he sought. Cespedes does need to hit better in the postseason where his career stats are that of a mortal and not a superstar. With the contract and money comes expectations and I believe Cespedes is the type of personality that is willing and able to embrace it.
So the Mets bring back their guy now. They got the years they wanted and Cespedes got the full no-trade clause he wanted. On Wednesday, he talked about the Mets feeling like home and hopes to finish his career in New York. GM Sandy Alderson recognized the impact of the player on his team and also admitted the Mets are in the entertainment business and there is no question that watching Cespedes is worth the price of admission. Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. “New York wants a winner. He obviously makes us win … and he obviously puts butts in seats.”
In this city, it is about winning. That represents the ultimate entertainment. The Mets are the biggest baseball show in town. Now, they have the biggest star in the city that has embraced the challenge and has thrived. He might not have been the Mets’ first choice, but it became abundantly clear over time he became their only choice. Welcome home, Yo.