Though fans are up in arms about how Sandy Alderson hasn’t gone fishing, the truth remains the New York Mets will be fine with or without Yoenis Cespedes.
By David Hong
Even though pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training within a month, there is still some noise in the Major League Baseball offseason regarding the New York Mets.
Of course, the question surrounding the Mets is whether they’ll retain free agent slugger Yoenis Cespedes, or let him fly away for a much bigger payday.
All along this offseason the Mets have made it clear they will not give Cespedes a long term contract, despite him hitting 17 home runs for the Mets in a two month span in the regular season and helping them win the National League East.
Cespedes has been looking for a long term contract all of this offseason and may still be trying to do despite the market thinning down.
It would be great if the Mets could retain the power hitting slugging Cespedes, but they are doing the right thing. Think about it, jumping on the bank for a 30-year old player who, while he has unlimited power, still has holes in his swing.
Either way, whether the Mets sign Yoenis or not, they should still be fine to contend this coming season.
Adding Cespedes definitely makes the Mets lineup better and adds power to the lineup.
We all saw that last season when he completely transformed the Mets offense and changed it from one of the worst to one of the most feared lineups towards the end of season. Cespedes’s presence will put less pressure on the other hitters. It was clear how other Mets hitters stepped up more when Cespedes came to town.
That’s the sort of impact he had and why he considered an MVP candidate in the National League despite only playing their for a couple months. Cespedes will also put less pressure on the great Mets starting rotation to not give up runs. The Mets starters as a whole may be the best out there but also having a great offense will also make things easier and it helped them towards the end of last season.
Bringing Cespedes back will definitely bring more excitement and the Mets will be able to continue on where they ended last season.
Even if the Mets do not retain Cespedes, while most of the fans will be disappointed, it will not create a huge dropoff for the Mets and they will still be fine to contend.
First of all, like I said before, the Mets have one of the best starting rotations in the game, if not the best.
A rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (coming back in midseason) consists of pitchers all under 30 who throw at least a 95 mph fastball with a plethora of nasty stuff. Even on a team with a mediocre offense, this rotation will still make them decent. And even with an offense as bad as what the Mets had prior to acquiring Cespedes, the team was still a little over .500 because of the strong pitching.
Admittedly, the Mets offense would be less intimidating without Cespdes, but it won’t be that bad of a lineup. I know there concerns over David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud‘s health, Lucas Duda‘s consistency, Asdrubal Cabrera‘s declined range at shortstop, whether Michael Conforto can take a step up from his strong rookie year and become the star player that the Mets are expecting, and whether Curtis Granderson can maintain his strong 2015 year from the leadoff spot.
If all or most of those questions are answered, the Mets still have a solid lineup.
If Wright and d’Arnaud can stay healthy, there’s no doubt what they can do offensively. I know Wright may not be the same player he once was, but he should still be good for perhaps 15-20 home runs at least over a full year. d’Arnaud is still not in his prime yet, so he can get even better from his 2015 production.
Even with his streakiness as a hitter, Duda should still reach close to 30 home runs as he did last year. Newly acquired Neil Walker should provide the same production at the plate as Daniel Murphy did, while providing better defense. Cabrera’s range may have diminished a little recently but still should have decent enough range in order to provide better defense at shortstop than Wilmer Flores.
I know there’s now more pressure for Conforto to take the next step in becoming a star hitter, but based on what we saw from him in his rookie year, his maturity level and his willingness to learn and get better, I’m pretty confident in him. Plus he has good veterans such as Wright and Granderson to show him the ropes more in 2016.
Juan Lagares may not nearly be the hitter Cespedes is power wise, but he is clearly a much better center fielder defensively. The Mets also acquired Alejandro de Aza to platoon with Juan and get at-bats vs righties. Finally, if Granderson can perform nearly the same equation as he did last season, that would be great.
So if most of these benefits come true, the Mets should still have a solid lineup even without Cespedes. They will definitely have a better lineup than what they had at the start of last season.
This is why the Mets should still be fine and have another productive season with or without Cespedes and one final thing on the Mets approach to Cespedes.
They are doing the right thing in trying to retain him, yet not handing him a long term deal. Five or six years is definitely too much for a 30-year old who has a bad on-base percentage and strikes out a ton. It would affect the Mets payroll in a negative way, and as a result would certainly not be able to re-sign most of their young starters when their contracts are up in several years.
Signing him to a short-term deal is reasonable for the Mets. They would still have Cespedes’s production while their starters are still under contract and it gives the Mets an easier time to try to sign most of their young starters. The Mets will still be contenders while at the same time, they could look to their future too with their payroll flexibility.
I know the Mets front office has gotten lots of flak over the years for being cheap and not spending much especially since they play in the biggest market but in terms of Cespedes, this is a smart move, knowing that the Mets will still be formidable without him, while not risking their future. Plus we all know these days that teams don’t win based on who much they’ve done in the offseason. For the Mets, it was in midseason that got them to where they were in October.
With Cespedes or not, whatever his decision is, the Mets will still be solid not only in the 2016 season but in the future as well.