For those of you not in the know, Mets outfielder and avid rancher Yoenis Céspedes let the team know ahead of the game that he would be opting out of the 2020 season for “COVID reasons.”
Sorry… hold on… Okay, that’s not completely right. What I meant to say was that Yoenis Céspedes opted out of the season via his agent in the middle of a game that he did not show up for, nor did he let the Mets know he wasn’t going to show up for. The Mets then sent hotel staff to his room where they found that all of his stuff was gone.
That’s a tough look for Céspedes for sure. But, you know what? That’s okay.
Let’s start with the obvious. Yoenis Céspedes is going to be a free agent in the offseason, and this decision to ghost the Mets will probably factor into a team’s decision to hire him. So you have to think about that if you’re Céspedes. This is a move he made, knowing full well what the consequences would be in the offseason. That’s an adult making a choice. You cannot knock him for that.
For all the people who are saying that they’d be fired if they didn’t show up for work, well guess who doesn’t have a job anymore? Yoenis Céspedes. It’s not a matter of him being privileged as an athlete making a decision to not tell his employer. The man quit. That’s fine. You make choices and you move on.
At the end of the day, whatever Yoenis wants to do is fine by me, you know why? It’s his decision to make. I’m not going to sit here and judge Buster Posey for opting out, or ask why David Price isn’t pitching for the Dodgers. That’s not my job, that’s not my decision.
What I will say is this: the Mets are better off without Yoenis Céspedes, and it has nothing to do with his decision to opt-out. Seriously.
With Jeff McNeil slated to play left field, and Dom Smith at DH, manager Luis Rojas opted to put Smith in left and have J.D. Davis step up as the DH. When Rosario went out, Rojas shifted Andrés Giménez to short and brought in Luis Guillorme to play third. When Cano left the game, Brian Dozier made his Mets debut. The Mets have a deep roster, and we got to see how Rojas could shuffle pieces round.
With Cespedes out, the Mets have flexibility within their young core. Plain and simple.
Up to the point he left the team, Cespedes had 15 strikeouts in 31 at-bats. Amassing five hits in his week and change back in the lineup, Céspedes was not helping the Mets win ballgames. It’s frustrating to watch Wilson Ramos groundout. It’s even more frustrating to watch Céspedes, who was being actively told not to leg out infield hits, struggle to maintain 80% activity. It was never going to work out for the Mets.
It’s a similar situation to what the Angels have to go through with Shohei Ohtani in the lineup. If he’s pitching, Albert Pujols can DH. If Shohei’s not on the bump, and you want him in the lineup, Pujols has to play first, which isn’t his strong suit anymore. The lineup suffers when you’re forced to use the DH on a player who detracts from the team.
This also opens up the opportunity for Pete Alonso to step into the DH role. That then gives Dom Smith more reps at first base and still keeps both bats in the lineup. There was a time when Pete Alonso and Dom Smith were jockeying for the first base duties in Flushing. Now they can play in the same lineup.
The possibilities are endless for Rojas to use the DH to better this team, not hope that Céspedes can figure things out.
So before you go off on him for ghosting his team, a team that feels no ill will towards him, check-in with the gift Céspedes gave us. Yoenis gave us freedom from the binds of the past Mets teams.
The only Mets remaining from the 2015 World Series are Michael Conforto, Jeurys Familia, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom. This current 2020 roster is the future of the New York Mets. So let’s see how far they can go.
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