New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes expects to make it in the team’s lineup when Opening Day arrives on July 24.
According to Anthony DiComo of mlb.com, Cespedes said he’s certain that he’ll be ready for Opening Day and that he’s excited to get back on the field.
Yoenis Céspedes: "I know for certain now that I will be ready [for Opening Day]. I'm very excited for the season to start in two weeks."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 11, 2020
Fans must be relieved and excited to hear this from Cespedes, whose tenure with the Mets has been messy and tumultuous. He was fantastic for the ballclub in 2015 after coming over from the Detroit Tigers and then again the following season.
However, after signing a massive four-year, $110 million deal with New York prior to the 2017 season, Cespedes began to suffer multiple injuries that kept him off the field more often than not.
He played just 81 and 38 games respectively in 2017 and 2018 and underwent season-ending surgery on both heels in the latter campaign.
Cespedes then fractured his right ankle in an incident involving a boar on his ranch in 2019 that eliminated all hopes of him playing last year. Not to mention, it was a situation that caused much controversy.
The 2019 Mets were incredibly exciting and fought until the end to make the playoffs. Although they came up just short, one can’t help but wonder if Cespedes’ presence in the lineup would’ve helped the team take that next step. He’s always exhibited star potential and was one of the better outfielders in baseball for several seasons.
In 308 games with the Mets, Cespedes has recorded a slash line of .282/.346/.543 with an OPS of .890 and OPS+ of 138.
MLB has implemented a universal designated hitter, something that will greatly benefit both the Mets and Cespedes himself.
New York is lucky to employ an abundance of offensive talent. Unfortunately, last season, some of those talented hitters weren’t able to get much playing time because there was no room in the lineup for them.
Adding the DH changes that. It will also be beneficial in terms of preventing injury. Cespedes is a natural left fielder, and a good one at that — he’s one of the team’s top defenders.
He said he’s ready to be the DH, play in left, or simply perform wherever the team wants to put him (he was seen taking ground balls at first base earlier this week).
The Mets will likely try to have him be the DH as often as possible so as to prevent accidents in the field.
Cespedes will have a great deal to play for this season and will try to remain as healthy as possible. His salary was reduced from $29.5 million to $6 million for this year, but his contract is loaded with incentives.
Additionally, Cespedes is in the final year of his deal, so he’ll need to prove to the entire league that he’s still capable of producing and staying healthy.
Cespedes compared major league pitching to riding a bike and said he believes he can make a significant offensive impact. His bat will be crucial to the lineup as the Mets look to go all the way.