Not many players on the Mets can carry the team like Yoenis Cespedes. Maybe an argument could be made for Pete Alonso, but even the slugging first baseman didn’t have two months like Cespedes did back in 2015.
Remember then? When the Mets pulled the trigger on the trade just minutes before the deadline and mercurial slugger came here and carried the team on his back all the way to the Pennant.
Not since Mike Piazza did the Mets have a one man wrecking crew on the field.
As Cespedes goes, so do the Mets.
Even former Mets GM Sandy Alderson knew it, when he signed his to the $110 million contact in 2016. The Mets win with Cespedes in the lineup.
And today, after powering the Amazin’s to a 1-0 win on opening day, it looks like Cespedes time again at Citi Field.
He seems to be a man on a mission.
“Some people said good things, a lot of people said bad things, and that was one of the things that motivated me to come back,” Cespedes said. “(It) proved to me that I can still be the same player I used to be.”
Cespedes obviously has motivation on his side. After being out for almost two years with double heal surgery and then a broken ankle due to his run-in with a wild boar, he is not just fighting for a job and contract next year, but wants to recoup back most of the clawback the Mets got from this year’s deal because of the boar incident.
Money motivates and on day one Cespedes became the offense again in Queens dazzling the thousands of cut out pictures of fans in the stand.
“With the way I have been preparing myself, he said. “And will continue to prepare myself and the way that I have been feeling better each and every day, I will return to the player from back then.”
If that’s the case, then advantage Mets.
Of course, Cespedes has to stay healthy, which is why keeping him at DH this season makes the most sense for manager Luis Rojas. Although he played left during summer camp, the Mets should not take the risk with such a valuable bat when it’s going right.
Having Cespedes carry the offense means Alonzo and Michael Conforto will get better pitches to hit, further deepening the lineup.
And when he is going right, he’s the guy you drop everything to watch his at bats.
It’s a win-win all around in Queens.
Cespedes still wants to play baseball next year, even at the age of 35 and that means he will have to be on his game for the next 59 contests.
That’s his motivation and it may take the Mets right into the expanded playoffs, and possibly another trip to the World Series.
As Cespedes goes, so do the Mets. We saw that today.