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Yoenis Cespedes and the Crowded Mets Outfield

It was reported yesterday that the New York Mets have resigned Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year deal worth $110 million dollars, with a Full No Trade Clause. IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME IN FLUSHING, QUEENS!

Citi Field by Nigel Morris is licensed under CC 2.0

Yoenis Cespedes and the Crowded Mets Outfield

Estimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes

It was reported yesterday that the New York Mets have resigned Yoenis Cespedes to a 4-year deal worth $110 million dollars, with a Full No Trade Clause.


If the Mets were to sit back and do nothing for the rest of the offseason they could pop the champagne right now, but it’s not over for the Metropolitans. Currently the Mets have Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and the returning Cespedes in the outfield.

Last year the Mets signed Alejandro DeAza to a 1-year deal worth $5 million dollars. The move was meant to add speed and defense, but with Conforto’s struggles at the plate injuries to Cespedes and Lagares, deAza was put into an everyday role and was asked to produce. DeAza ended the year with a .205 average and vastly underperformed his previous year. If anything DeAza will go down in Mets folklore for two or three big hits late in the year, helping propel the Mets to their top Wild Card finish.

But what DeAza did most of all was bring to light the over crowding in the Mets outfield. As a platoon player, DeAza didn’t bring enough pop to the plate to earn anything other than a bench role, something the Mets already had in Gold Glove Centerfielder Juan Lagares. The issue stems from the fact that Mets have to find a way to keep Lagares and Conforto progressing, while keeping them on the major league club. Brandon Nimmo, the club’s other top outfield prospect showed some flashes of promise in the bigs during his tenure last season, but needs another year to fully form in Las Vegas.

But that time is going to come and the Mets will need to make a call. Conforto, Lagares and Nimmo are the future of the club, and rather than being shipped off it would be great to see them become regulars at Citi Field. The Mets have a long jam in the outfield, and it’s a lovely problem to have. In the recent years, the Mets had guys like Kirk Neuiwenhuis and Bobby Aubrey holding court on the bench and in the outfield, but they weren’t the total players they have in the outfield now. The Mets are halfway between an AAAA roster of the 2010s and the star power they could have in the future.

Granted these numbers are being put up by prospects in the heavy hitting Pacific Coast League, they do have some whiff of promise. Conforto for example, hit .220 this season after starting the season hotter than the Sahara. When he was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, Confort smashed the ball, hitting .420, 12 dingers and posting a 1.209 OPS. Compare this to his 9 homers and .792 OPS, which he hit in more than three times the at-bats.

The Mets farm system is jam packed with potential, but the current guys in the outfield are still producing. Curtis Granderson, approaching the age of 36, is going into the final year of his Mets contract. Curtis is my favorite Met off the field, he is the face of the organization and seemingly never stops working with his and other charities doing good in the world. His thousand watt smile lights up Citi Field during the dog days of summer. Seriously. Curtis will always sign a ball, give a high five and even chat with young fans in the batters box during a game. He’s just the best.

But should the Mets re-sign him in the 2017 offseason, this is where things get could get interesting. Granderson struggled to find himself in 2016, his 30 homers and 51 RBIs make that abundantly clear, but what Grandy also did something rather selfless; he moved to Centerfield. To non-Mets fans you might read that and think, “but you said you had two guys who could play Centerfield! Isn’t one of them a Gold Glover?” And you’re right, they do, and Lagares was, but that’s the Mets rationale. You gotta play the guys who are going to get the job done. Grandy in his career has gotten it done, and he gets it done better when playing in Center. Throughout his career, Curtis has hit .263 while playing in Center, he has hit 226 home runs, and has an OPS of .841. Those are his career numbers. He’s your guy for the job. Grandy even made it clear to the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes that he wanted to play Center if it meant keeping La Potencia.

So now we have Curtis in Center, Yoenis in Left and Who in Right field? Well, it’s gotta be Conforto. He’s got the bat, he’s got the pop, let’s win some championships. Conforto seems like the RIGHT fit for the corner outfield spot, but what do you do with Jay Bruce?

JAY BRUCE. FUCK. GODDAMN IT. We all knew that this was going to happen! When trying to recreate the magic if 2015, we lost sight of what was important and traded for Jay Bruce.  In that trade we gave up Dilson Herrera, once thought to be the second baseman of the future, and pitcher Max Wotell. One month after the trade deadline, Neil Walker goes out for the season with a back injury and the Mets have to scramble a bit to find someone to plug that whole. If Dilson was still in the organization, it would have been his time to shine, but instead T. J. Rivera showed up and had a September to remember.

This is all speculation, of course, but my bigger point is that the Mets never needed Jay Bruce. The Mets offense was not producing as it should have been, but to inject it with a little Jay Bruce was not the answer. The solution to the Mets problems was never signing Alejandro DeAza in the first place. I KNOW. WHAT A FUCKING SHOCKER, RIGHT? Looking back at 2016, it really shouldn’t be. Let’s talk about how DeAza was used in 2016. For some reason, Terry Collins loved DeAza as the first guy off the bench in a game. Need a pinch hitter? DeAza grab a bat! Need a pinch runner? DeAza get on first! So in July when Justin Ruggiano, Lagares, Conforto and Cespedes are out with injuries or in the minors, what do you do? You play DeAza and his abysmal average. Your Mets outfield is DeAza, Granderson and Bruce. That’s rough. Jay Bruce was brought in to add to the offense, in the wake of losing Lucas Duda, Cespedes, David Wright and Lagares, but what he really did was illuminate the issues in the Outfield. If the Mets had traded for a full time Centerfielder, things might have gone better, someone like Cameron Maybin, who is Curtis Granderson 2.0, or Keon Broxton of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Mets needed solid positional players, not Alejandro DeAza who doesn’t belong on the field

So where does Jay Bruce go now? Frankly, I don’t know, but he has to go somewhere. The Mets have no room for him on the roster and getting his $13 million off the payroll will be a lovely thing, especially now with Cespedes signed for the next four years.

Toronto is picking up a lot of steam as they need corner outfield help. Whether or not this is also a plow to hold Bautista’s feet to the fire is yet to be seen, but the idea seems to be replacing Michael Saunders in Left. The last time the Mets and Blue Jays traded players, Sandy Alderson pulled Travis D’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard away from the Jays in return for R.A. Dickey. WOOPS. This time around, I think Sandy looks a little lower on the prospect rankings. For Jay Bruce, I think the Mets go after Catcher Max Pentecost and Lefty Angel Perdomo, #14 and #15 Prospects for the Jays. The Mets have an issue at catcher. D’Arnuad is getting another year to grow into the starting role, but it appears he might be made of glass. Kevin Plawecki his backup is not much better. Pentecost would add some fire to both guys and would set you up for success should D’Arnaud and Plawecki not pan out. Pentecost hit above .300 for single –A Lansing this year and should continue to see his star shoot higher and faster in the coming years.

Perdomo is the jewel in this trade. Angel is 22 years old and is 6’ 6”. Does that sound familiar? In 206, Perdomo had a 12 Strikeout game, had his opponent’s batting average to .143 and lead the Midwest League in strikeouts.  If Perdomo keeps moving that direction over the next two years he’ll be unstoppable, and it’ll be right on time as the Mets can’t keep all of their young star pitchers.

The Mets signed Cespedes to an amazing deal, proving to the Flushing Faithful that they want to win and want to invest in the future. Jay Bruce was a desperate move, something we have not seen from Sandy Alderson and the Mets front office. The smell of desperation isn’t strong at Citi Field this offseason and that’s something to celebrate.

But mainly, we should pop bottles and light up some Cuban because Cespedes is a Met for the next four years, because that’s the smart moves we have known from this front office. This is hopefully a sign of things to come for the Mets. They’ve tasted success and defeat in the worst way and now it’s about climbing to the top of the mountain. The 2017 Mets are for real… please don’t suck, you guys.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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