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Mets: Yoenis Cespedes needs to start living up to his lofty contract

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 28: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets looks up after taking a strike during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 28, 2018 in San Diego, California. Cespedes stuck out in the inning. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 28: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets looks up after taking a strike during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on April 28, 2018 in San Diego, California. Cespedes stuck out in the inning. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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It’s about time New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes lives up to his large contract.

In 2018, only six MLB players earn more money than New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The group includes franchise stars like Clayton Kershaw and Mike Trout as well as future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera.

Cespedes, while not quite at either level, is getting paid a just $29 million. However, until he starts hitting more consistently, it will look like a player-friendly deal.

Cespedes isn’t the only guy earning well over $20 million and performing below his contract. Right behind him on the list of highest paid players is Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs. Despite his weaknesses, Cespedes’ time with the Mets could be worse.

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Anyone who has watched a second of Mets baseball this year has probably seen Cespedes strikeout. If they stuck through all nine innings, they most likely also saw him come up with a big hit.

The 2018 season has been strange for the Mets left fielder. It’s no shock to see him strike out three times in a game then punch a double into the gap to put the team ahead late.

These clutch hits saved Cespedes from a wasted April. He’s knocking in almost a run with each hit, making for some unusual statistics through the early-going.

Sure, Mets fans appreciate the big game-winning hits. They would still like to see some consistency out of their $29 million outfielder.

Strikeouts are going to happen. Do they have to appear so frequently when the big guy steps up to the plate?

One thing to take into account when judging Cespedes is the reason why he’s getting paid so much this year. The Mets didn’t want to have a guy wasting away at age 37 while earning a hefty amount and taking up a roster spot. Instead of spreading out his salary over the course of many years, the Mets are paying him the motherload early while he still produces.

There’s an argument one could make against this strategy. Neither is right or wrong. The fact is, Cespedes is not living up to his deal. The Mets can only justify the payment as a reward for 2015 for so long until there’s no denying they overpaid for a player who may have already on the decline or at least prone to injury.

Next: Jeremy Vasquez the latest Mets prospect to watch

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With almost a full 2018 season left and two more years after this, it’s certainly possible Cespedes turns things around. Even if the result is one solid season and a championship in Queens, the paycheck would have all been worth it.

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