In listening to the contrasting versions of the Yoenis Cespedes injury/golf issue between Mets GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins illustrates the gap and lack of communication in their working relationship and how ultimately things won’t end well for the latter.
Collins spoke first Thursday afternoon and initially seemed composed in his press conference, but quickly became testy and controversial, interrupted questions and getting angry with reporters.
Collins’ ears perked up when the word “golf’’ was mentioned.
“Don’t go there,” said Collins, cutting off the question before it was asked. “Golf had nothing to do with it. He’s a baseball player.”
When the question was rerouted to being about perception, Collins went off, and frankly said some things that were embarrassing.
“I don’t care about perception,” Collins snapped. “I care about reality. The reality is, he was OK. He was OK to play [Wednesday] night. The reality is, he came up after his last at-bat and said, ‘My leg’s bothering me again.’
“It happened from when he got on base. He ran the bases. It didn’t hurt him in the fourth inning; it didn’t hurt him in the sixth inning. It hurt him in the ninth inning. That’s reality. That’s what we have to deal with. We can’t worry about what happened at 12 in the afternoon. We’ve got to worry about what happened at 10 o’clock [Wednesday] night. That’s when he hurt his leg.”
Collins was so far off, just as he was when asked why Cespedes wasn’t placed on the disabled list the first week of July.
“Because he wasn’t hurt that bad,” Collins said. “He didn’t complain about it.”
Listening to Alderson later, it was as if he heard Collins and then said the opposite.
“Let’s face it,” Alderson said. “Playing golf during the day and then going out and getting injured in the evening, it’s a bad visual. I think [Cespedes] recognizes it at this point and we’ll go from there.”
What Alderson said next clearly undercut Collins’ earlier comments.It’s been a trying month or so with Yoenis and the injury and in retrospect, we probably should have just put him on the DL in the beginning of this episode,” Alderson said. “On the other hand, he wanted to try to play through it.’’
“It’s been a trying month or so with Yoenis and the injury and in retrospect, we probably should have just put him on the DL in the beginning of this episode,” Alderson said. “On the other hand, he wanted to try to play through it.”
I don’t have a problem with not putting Cespedes on the DL immediately. He was hurt before the All-Star break and it made sense to take the calculated gamble of seeing if the rest during the break could have helped him.
But, was Cespedes getting any rest if he was on the golf course every day. There are reports he likes to play four or five times a week. However, whether he used a cart or not doesn’t matter. There’s still a lot of standing and walking, and Bobby Valentine made an interesting comment when he compared the muscle movements and torque of the baseball swing.
It might not be as taxing as playing basketball, but there is a strain which is compounded when it’s hot. Neither Alderson nor Collins said it, but when Cespedes is on the golf course for three hours, he’s not getting treatment, is he?
I wonder how David Wright, who used to spend up to two hours getting ready to play, feels about this.
All that is the reality Collins wanted to deal in.
The reality is Cespedes was not getting as much treatment as he should have been getting.
The reality is if Collins was trying to preserve Cespedes for these games in AL parks when he could have used the DH, then he shouldn’t have used him as a pinch-hitter when the Mets held a five-run lead.
The reality is if Cespedes tweaked his quad Tuesday night as a pinch-hitter, he shouldn’t have been on a golf course Wednesday afternoon.
The reality is if Cespedes takes fewer swings before a game, then he shouldn’t be taking more and more golf swings.
The reality is if Cespedes can’t play left field to preserve his legs he shouldn’t be playing 18 rounds several times a week.
The reality is when Alderson said he conferred with Cespedes’ representatives about not playing golf when on the DL, he’s admitting no control over his player.
Collins is right about one thing, and that is Cespedes is a baseball player. And, the reality is he’s being paid $27 million to play for the Mets and isn’t giving his employer his best effort.
The reality is there is a disconnect between Alderson and Collins and this won’t end well for the manager.
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