If the New York Mets were to fail to bring back Yoenis Cespedes, signing Jose Bautista could equate to a disastrous alternative.
The infamous ‘citizens of panic city’ are patiently awaiting the New York Mets to announce the (re)signing of Yoenis Cespedes. Fans, media, and front office executives understand the magnitude of the star Cuban’s awaited decision. As important as Cespedes has been to the Mets, there is no guarantee that he’s roaming the green outfield pastures of Citi Field next Spring.
Should Cespedes receive an offer he couldn’t refuse, and Sandy Alderson couldn’t match, it’s obvious the Mets will need some sort of right handed power hitting replacement to cement the middle of their lineup. Not to state the obvious, but it’s evident that the Mets aren’t the only team interested in Cespedes.
Should the Mets decide to employ Jose Bautista, the move could seriously backfire.
Bautista is 36 years old, and seeking a multi-year contract. The most comparable player in this situation, is the four year, $68 million dollar deal signed by Detroit Tigers DH Victor Martinez prior to the 2015 season. It’s entirely possible that Bautista’s contract could exceed the one signed by Martinez. The Mets have also made it no secret that they maintain at least some interest in the slugging outfielder.
Martinez has the advantage of filling the DH role whereas Bautista would have to play a corner outfield position. He posted -8 defensive runs saved last season, as that number isn’t likely to improve as he ages. Say what you want about Cespedes lackadaisically chasing balls in the outfield, but the man does have gold glove under his belt.
Coming off his worst season since 2008 (1.0 WAR in 2016), it’s clear that Bautista is entering decline. He played in 116 games last season, with only 91 coming in the outfield. The age, injuries, declining defense and expected contract are shouting ‘disaster’ at the New York Mets.
Though a healthy Bautista would fill a huge gap left by the potential departure of Cespedes, the risks greatly outweigh the rewards.
The biggest concern for Bautista could be his comments and controversial on field actions. The infamous bat flip against the Texas Rangers in the 2015 ALDS, combined with a hard slide earlier this May, led to one of the largest on field brawls in recent memory.
There were also the comments about the umpiring in this past season’s ALCS, where Bautista suggested some of the calls were biased. He also mocked the Indians’ Ryan Meritt prior to game five last season, only to see his team get shutout. His angry tweets towards Colin Cowherd also sparked controversy in 2015.
Now, consider some of these comments, tweets, etc. from Bautista and multiply them by the New York media. The potential firestorm would leave long time public relations guru Jay Horowitz scrambling to assess damage control.
If Cespedes leaves, Alderson and the front office are going to have to get creative to secure a viable replacement. Going the Jose Bautista route comes with far more cons than pros.
Whether you agree or disagree, you can start the conversation on Twitter @Gcam92.