I was saving an opinion on Yoenis Cespedes for when he signed with another team. But like that annoying fly that keeps coming at you, I couldn’t resist to take a swipe. The fly in question is the New York Mets and their unwilling desire to talk contract with the greatest outfielder in Mets history. If you listen to the team and those who write for them, it’s like they’re a better team without the 30 year old Cuban defector. Before we go any further, it is important to understand the talk that was coming out of Flushing during the season and not the offseason, the talk that sounded something like this:
August 1st-August 10th: Yeah! We traded for Cespedes, but why isn’t he hitting? No homeruns through ten games… the Mets took on his second half salary for this?
August 21st-August 27th: Seven homers in seven games? Best trade ever! Who cares if it came against Colorado and Philly? (Same fans who now rail at the fact that it came off against Colorado and Philly.) Also, did you see how bad Carlos Gonzalez looked at Citi last week besides that one pitch? Told you we shouldn’t have got him – Cespedes is better! (continues to roll eyes at CarGo and his 15 homers after this last meeting)
September 1st-September 14th: Who is this guy? MVP! MVP! Has a player ever won MVP after getting traded at the deadline? Get that contract ready! I don’t care if it’s $200 million. We’re going to have to retire #52 if he keeps this pace up. “9 HR in 14 games prorated to 162 is like 100 big flys! Imagine what he’ll do in a full season :/”
September 15th-October 4th: It’s good that La Potencia is saving it up for the playoffs! I’d probably take him for 7 years $150 million. Wouldn’t you? –opens GoFundMe to start fundraising—
PLAYOFFS: 12 for 54 is .222/232/352. That’s less than a .600 OPS! I don’t care if he’s played well in the postseason the last two times he’s been there; he stinks in the playoffs! This is when it all counts and he doesn’t show up, strikeouts and bad defense is what he gives you. And you really want to pay this dude into his 30s? Keep him far away from MY team and watch us succeed even if we wouldn’t have made it this far without him. <—– Same applies for Daniel Murphy
Ah, New York. Nothing like it. If the team can’t act like it with its spending, at least their fans can with their high expectations expect for they don’t really have high expectations. But I’ll make it perfectly clear: this is not a hitpiece on the Mets or a summing up of their financial situation. I’m not here to tell you whether the Wilpons should or should not own a big market franchise and that they routinely spend millions on apartment buildings like they did with $32 million for a Brooklyn property last year. This is to record the many times the organization has gotten lucky and another chance at life with Yoenis Cespedes. Of course, much of success has to do with luck but if the Mets don’t act soon, we won’t be asking why teams like the White Sox didn’t go for it and pair Jose Abreu with another capable hitter rather why the Mets didn’t get lucky a second time and for that they’ll have to answer. By now, you know the situation surrounding last year’s trading deadline. The Mets never explicitly targeted Yoenis Cespedes but had to make the move to quiet a grumbling fan base after they balked on a trade that would’ve sent Carlos Gomez to NYC. This website didn’t consider Cespedes a possibility in our trade deadline trade ideas thread because of what was put out there about the organization’s philosophy on acquiring players who didn’t walk, take pitches and were soon to be free agents. Now this winter, they reportedly were looking for another outfielder, a scenario they hoped to avoid but couldn’t with the deal with Detroit. The parameters were simple: a left handed hitting center fielder who was willing to take a shorter term and platoon with former Gold Glover Juan Lagares, basically everything that Yo wasn’t. Denard Span and Gerrardo Parra apparently were not fits either with no draft pick compensation required for either of them.
The Mets last month eventually settled for everyone’s favorite, Alejandro De Aza, a “center fielder” who hasn’t played the position in two years and was designated for assignment several times prior to finding a home and $6 million here. A bit rich? Probably but not for the team that was making it rain for a soon to be 42 year old long reliever in Bartolo Colon and his $7 million contract, Jerry Blevins and his $4 million left handed arm that barely pitched four innings in 2015. But if you can’t afford premium level talent, I’m never against building a great bullpen and depth. Just ask the Yankees who also aren’t spending like they used to and still spent a similar amount on Aroldis Chapman ($11.5 million, rough midpoint estimate of his arbitration demand of $13 million and Yankees’ offer of 10 million), Starlin Castro ($7 million) and Aaron Hicks ($500K) – three considerably better players that the team in Queens could’ve used whose return in trades weren’t unreasonable at the least and a lot less than most expected. I don’t think anyone will argue that they’ve had a better go it in terms of creativity than the Mets. The middle infield has changed but is it really that much better? Asdrubal Cabrera three years ago and current day Asdrubal Cabrera are different things since one could still play shortstop but he got the only multi year commitment of the winter for the Mets at a cool almost $20 million. Couldn’t that have been used on a player who isn’t an older Wilmer Flores’ and will cut into his playing time? For comparison’s sake, the Padres and Alexei Ramirez were a match at $4 million. Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson made for good versatility and insurance for a portion of the price. Neil Walker for Jonathan Niese was a good baseball move that happened in same amount of time as the Yoenis Cespedes trade. Walker is underrated but I wouldnt not call him an upgrade offensively from what was there for each of the last eight years and from someone acting like Babe Ruth against the game’s best. Forgive me if I feel that the once methodical front office now builds their teams on the fly or have they always done so with multiple moves coming on the same day on several occasions?
Don’t want to be like the Yankees? Fine. Can we at least be like Kansas City’s Royals, who royally kicked our prized rotation’s behind in October and spent $140 million in the last ten days to retain their own in Alex Gordon and then Ian Kennedy? Or worse, Miami’s Marlins who extended Dee Gordon for $50 million and then their bought own starting pitcher for $80 million all in this week? In a climate where the Baltimore’s of the world are keeping Chris Davis through $160 million of deferred money and you can’t keep Cespedes in NEW YORK? Curtis Granderson is off the books in two years, during which you can then move Cespy from center field. We have got to understand that this is the time period of the Mets’ window. David Wright’s money is heavily front loaded, deGrom/Harvey/Syndergaard/Matz/Wheeler earn less than $10 million. What would every other team in Major League Baseball do here? Add to it. Ride it. While Matt Harvey is a goner in 2017 to replenish the farm system and sustain the current, the majority of Jacob deGrom and Lucas Duda’s careers are controlled. Michael Conforto may be forced onto the spotlight, from hitting down in the order to the third hole in some cases, possibly before he is ready. Going back to fortunate part of the story, the Mets lucked out none of their young guns have yet to struggle out of the gate but don’t count on that to continue happening. Even further back, they clearly don’t mind putting their starters out there with a well below average defense and certainly nothing like the one they faced in the World Series. The Mets’ problem lies in the fact that they do have the money but spend it in such a way and approach that lends itself to quantity over quality and a lot of the time, to bad free agent contracts like mistakes with Chris Young that were celebrated over the skepticism and critique of Granderson’s larger agreement with the team that same December. Trying to get the best in a so called deal with more base salary than incentive rarely results in gifts like the one Michael Cuddyer, the ultimate professional and someone who played a bigger role in culture change than most realize with his post game rituals and player-coach mentality, gave in deciding to retire and not take another penny. So why is it that we are unable to take advantage of the opportunity of this moment?
Beating the Dodgers and Cubs showed what a team led by Yoenis Cespedes could do. Why would anyone in their right mind break that up? The New York Mets must not let the play against those two teams be a chilling reminder of what they ultimately could’ve become. Cespedes’ value does not diminish because he has been moved around a lot these past few years and further shows that his personality will be unfazed wherever you put him as long as you hand him his glove and his bat. If the thought of him in a Washington Nationals uniform protecting Bryce Harper is what scares this club enough to give their most important player a five year commitment worth $100 million and stability for the first time in his life, then so be it. Great players get paid, often by the most unsuspecting suitors like Max Scherzer and the Nats can tell you. Hopefully for the Mets, they aren’t again searching for another power hitter in July after letting the best one in the game and two time Home Run Derby champion get away.
The teams that say they will spend have spent. This one still needs more Cespedes.