Let’s not get cute here. The Mets should be thankful for what they are getting from Yoenis Cespedes.
If his bat is anywhere near the way it was before his heal surgeries, then they should be jumping for joy.
And that the National League has adopted the designated hitter this year gives manager Luis Rojas a perfect place to play his mercurial slugger.
So let’s not get greedy here.
“The defense is the part we’ll need to see more and more. We’ll reassess with the performance staff from camp and see the number of innings he can be out there for,” Rojas said.
“I feel like his bat is ready for Opening Day. The way we saw him running yesterday, I feel it looks ready for Opening Day.”
The only defense Cespedes should only be working on is avoiding foul balls in the dugout. After two heal surgeries and recovering from the wild boar incident, there isn’t a need for him to play the outfield.
Need help in left field? Well the Mets signed Melky Cabrera for that. J.D. Davis should be the starter anyway and if necessary, Brandon Nimmo can shift over from center. Even Dom Smith can be shifted into left.
There is depth there and the Mets shouldn’t be risking Cespedes out there if it’s not necessary.
Remember this is a player, who has had a history of leg injuries and after all these surgeries, the Mets should limit his running to a minimum. That means 90 feet at a clip.
Too many things can go wrong in the outfield and too much turning and stopping on a dime. The Mets don’t need that risk with his bat.
“The way that my body’s feeling right now and the way that I’ve been able to run, I feel so much better and I feel like I’ll be able to play the outfield if that comes up,” Cespedes said.
‘It’s not a decision that’s been brought to me yet, but the days where I have to play left field, I’ll play left field, and the days that I have to be the DH, I’ll be the DH.”
Cespedes should be the main DH this year, playing five days a week with two days off. There is no other equation that makes sense. His defense has always been okay, but he tends to make defensive gaffs that has cost the Mets in the past.
And that was before all the injuries.
Let him shag fly balls right now. Sure. But when the regular season starts, Cespedes should be nailed to that bench, only going up for his three or four turns at the plate, helping the Mets with that potent bat.
It’s a 60-game season. Now is not the time to get cute.