Yoenis Cespedes has missed more than half of the 2018 New York Mets season a year after playing in only 81 games.
When the New York Mets placed Yoenis Cespedes on the disabled list back in May, we could already smell trouble. The big powerful outfielder played in 81 of the Mets’ 162 games last season. This year, he has already participated in less than half of his team’s games.
Cespedes has been in just 37 games this season. It’s no coincidence that his absence has led to one of the worst collapses we can remember. From 11-1 to let’s not even look at the standings anymore we can feel the Miami Marlins breathing down our necks, it has been a bad year.
I remember weeks ago getting a lot of heat for saying Cespedes needed to live up to his contract. As one of the highest paid players in MLB history, the expectations are high. He needs to have a legendary season to justify the large paycheck. Instead of falling short of it, he has barely gotten off the ground.
When anyone makes the kind of money Cespedes earns, they need to perform up to it. He doesn’t have a long enough history with the Mets for me to pass this off as a reward for past achievements. The 2015 and 2016 seasons were great for Cespedes. It’s not enough to see half a small market’s payroll go to one guy and watch him sit out 50% of the time.
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Since signing his deal after the 2016 season, Cespedes is a literal part-time player. It’s not by choice although some may believe he’s spending too much time on the disabled list.
Injuries have been the story of the 2017 and 2018 Mets. Travis d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, and AJ Ramos all underwent season-ending surgery. None of them were expected to put together an All-Star season. However, when this many of the smaller role-players are claimed by the disabled list for an indefinite amount of time, trouble will brew.
Cespedes did make an attempt to come back earlier this month. Unfortunately, he was re-injured during a rehab game in Trenton.
In his seven big league seasons, Cespedes has played in 140 games or more only twice now. He accomplished this in 2014 and again in 2015. Since then, an annual disabled list stint seems like a requirement. The big guy played in 132 games in his 2016 All-Star season. Seeing how much time he misses now, Mets fans would surely take this version of Cespedes over the current one.
Fans should never blame a player for getting hurt. It’s not always preventable. In the case of Cespedes, we can still question his motivations and wonder what can be done to salvage the final years in New York.
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Yoga? More ice baths? A witch doctor’s potion? Let’s try whatever we can.