Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Joel Sherman of the New York Post ripped New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ work ethic. He was out of line.

Twenty-four plus one?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that is the equation when it comes to New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Sherman castigated Cespedes’ work ethic despite no Mets official striking the same tenor.

Sherman cited Cespedes’ lackadaisical participation in an outfield throwing drill. as the latest example.

Earlier this week. First Data Field. New Mets outfield coach Ruben Amaro is hitting fungos to nine outfielders. New manager Mickey Callaway is watching. One of the nine is wearing his hat backward. One is occasionally catching the ball behind his back. One — despite instruction to treat throw-ins as if runners were on base — occasionally delivers long, underhanded heaves toward Amaro. And before anyone mentions Yoenis Cespedes was nursing a sore shoulder, know that when he wanted, Cespedes displayed the best arm in the group.

Sherman adds that Cespedes—and Cespedes alone—was made unavailable to the media following the Mets latest Grapefruit League contest. The latter is obviously a pet-peeve for reporters.

Sherman goes so far as to compare Cespedes’ “situation,” if there is one, to that of former Yankees outfielder Mel Hall, who played under Buck Showalter. Hall was a talented but underachieving player who was inconsistent and eventually jettisoned by the Yankees under Showalter’s regime for his play on the field and antics off of it.

“Joel, you can have an a–hole on your team. But that a–hole better be Barry Bonds,” Showalter told Sherman while talking about Hall in 1992.

Mets brass didn’t observe the same thing.

Afterward, neither Amaro nor Callaway would refer to Cespedes as an a–hole. Quite the contrary. They praised the “energy” — both used that word — he has brought to drills. Both lauded Cespedes’ behavior to date. Both stated they don’t mind players spicing up the monotony of spring drills with individual flair, as long as the work is getting done.

Well, Cespedes may not be Bonds, but he is the closest thing the Mets have to him.

This seems like one of two things.

  • A writer looking for attention by pushing a false narrative
  • A writer who couldn’t get access to a player and is looking for payback.

This is a case of a columnist trying to create something by drawing a non-linear comparison, where nothing exists.

Not all players are treated alike, that is true.

Hall’s tale is a cautionary one.

Mediocre players who operate like islands often find themselves looking for jobs. Such was the case for Hall, who couldn’t find a job after a .280/15/81 1992 season during the pre-sabermetrics era.

Yoenis Cespedes is not Mel Hall.

He is one of a kind.

He is eccentric but obviously liked under the Terry Collins regime and the new one. GM Sandy Alderson, a straight-laced former Marine, saw no issue with signing Cespedes to two big contracts after trading for him.

Players who deliver can do what works for them and the team. Cespedes, who is coming off an injury-plagued year in 2017 sparked the Mets unprecedented run to the World Series run in 2015 with dominant play and followed that up with an excellent 2016 in which he helped lead the Mets to the postseason again.

Sherman himself noted that Callaway coached under Terry Francona who won with players like Manny Ramirez who go to the beat of their own drum. Sherman also claimed the Mets “starting pitchers often operate like the cool clique in high school.” He adds that Callaway’s time as a pitching coach can hopefully mitigate this.

To compare Manny, who was suspended for PED use and played his way out of Boston to Cespedes is unfair, as is the Mel Hall implication. Likewise, he doesn’t miss an opportunity to make an unfair observation about the pitching staff. Most teams pitching staffs are cliquey.

Rest in peace Mel Hall. And give it a rest, Sherman.

Joshua Casper is a New York based Sportswriter who has written for both local and national publications. He also has broadcasting experience with MSG Networks and has worked in sports media relations. Mr. Casper resides in Brooklyn, NY.