If the Mets were truly honest with themselves, they might secretly be hoping for Yoenis Cespedes to exercise is one-year opt out and hit the market, where they can let him walk and develop their young outfielders.
There’s been speculation lately of giving Cespedes an extension now, which would create a splash but wouldn’t be in the best long-term interest of the Mets. It could set them back a few years.
It would also allow them to funnel some of the money Cespedes would receive to signing some of their young pitching: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Considering he’s coming off surgery and how poorly he’s pitched this year, signing Matt Harvey has dropped on the priority meter.
It must also be considered if Harvey and Zack Wheeler don’t bounce back, and they don’t have Bartolo Colon return, they would need to spend for a pitcher in the off-season. They must also address their bench and bullpen needs.
One of the obstacles to bringing back Cespedes is where to play him – and everybody else – if he won’t play center. I’m not crazy about having the player dictate where he will and won’t play. If Cespedes can’t, or won’t, play center he should leave. The Mets wanting him back was predicated on him playing center.
What the last few weeks with Cespedes’ strained quad taught us is: 1) he really doesn’t want to play center, which is something GM Sandy Alderson should have resolved before re-signing him, 2) neither Conforto and Nimmo have much experience in center, which is where they would figure to play, and 3) Lagares, who is on a long-term deal, would be the odd-man out.
Also bothersome in keeping Cespedes have been his brain and hustle lapses. And this year, in addition to his quad, his wrist, ankle and hip have slowed him down this year.
When Cespedes was playing for a contract last year it was with the drive of having something to prove. However, this year he’s proven to be too brittle and problematic.
If the Mets can get out from under Cespedes’ contract they’ll be lucky.