It is not exactly the start that you wanted in 2016 if you are Yoenis Cespedes.
Going into the Sunday afternoon game against the Phillies, you’re hitting .125 with seven strikeouts and you have yet to drive in a run.
On a chilly Saturday evening, as the Phillies blanked the Mets 1-0, some fans booed Cespedes at CitiField as he went 0-2 with RISP and he struck out on three occasions.
Seriously? We are just four games into the MLB regular season. The Mets are 2-2 and certainly you expected for the Mets best offensive player to get off to a better start in 2016. But did you expect him to be the player he was last year in his first 57 games with the Mets after being acquired from the Tigers on July 31?
He hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs and scored 39 runs and went through a stretch where he was basically Roy Hobbs. Mets fans all wanted him back. All celebrated when Mets owners spent and gave him a three-year $75 million dollar contract. All celebrated when the payroll for the Mets surpassed $140 million dollars for 2016. All celebrated when Cespedes was showing up in Port St. Lucie at the start of spring training with a different car for six straight days at the start of camp. All celebrated when he bought a 270-pound grand champion hog from the St. Lucie County Fair. All celebrated when he rode a horse, along with Noah Syndergaard, into camp one day as well.
We all laughed and joked after his mental gaffe in spring training led to an inside the park home run. However, if you laughed and celebrated then, you can’t boo now. Not four games into a year that has so much hope. Not 16 at-bats into a long MLB regular season.
It just doesn’t make much sense. I am not one to criticize the fans because I believe if you pay your hard earned money to go to a game, you should be able to boo and cheer whomever you want. Nobody is above reproach.
Now, with that being said, you are better than that. The baseball fan in this city is better than that. I am not sure exactly what you expected from Cespedes, but I am sure he set an unrealistic bar for himself after his Roy Hobbs-esque first 57 games in a Mets uniform last season.
He came here to help the Mets win a World Series and it is a long regular season. You need to be patient and give him time. When he first came here, he hit at a level that he never hit at before. It was the best you were going to see from Cespedes because it was a contract year and he was looking to get paid in the offseason.
For a few different reasons, Cespedes never got the contract offer that he was looking for. The six-year, $150 million dollar contract never materialized because, for one, there was a fear that he would not be motivated with a long-term deal.
That is not the reason that he is off to a slow start so far for the Mets. He will hit and will hit a lot. These four games do not represent what he will be for the duration of the 2016 season. After the game Saturday night, Cespedes joked around about the cold weather and that those were not conditions to be playing baseball in.
I don’t think that is what the Mets fans want to hear right now, but what Cespedes should not be hearing are boos. We are early in a long MLB regular season. The expectations for the Mets is to not only win 90-plus games but also to win a World Series. You rejoiced when Cespedes was brought back and the honeymoon should not be over this soon, this quick. We have not even hit the dog days of August.
Don’t worry, Cespedes will hit and will hit a ton. There is no need to boo, not yet. You are better than that.