With no clear timeline of when Yoenis Cespedes will return to the New York Mets lineup, the team will have to move on this year without him. How much will they miss his big bat in the lineup?
In the midst of a playoff push in the summer of 2015, the New York Mets made a deal at the end of the road deadline to acquire Yoenis Cespedes from the Detriot Tigers. He was everything the Mets needed him to be through the rest of that season, batting .287 with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in.
After signing a three-year deal again with the Mets the following year, he continued to perform, hitting 31 home runs alongside 86 runs batted in and having a .280 batting average. He opted out of the first deal then signed a 4-year $110 million dollar contract. It is safe to say the current deal has not worked out well for either side.
Cespedes was sidelined after 81 games in the 2017 season with his second hamstring injury of the season, his first one coming early in April which took him out for six weeks. Through his 2017 season, Cespedes was putting up usual numbers he is used to seeing. He hit 17 home runs and added 42 RBI to go with a .292 batting average.
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The injuries would not stop there as it seemed to only get worse for Cespedes and the Mets. He played in only 38 games last year before undergoing season-ending surgery on his heels. He did come back briefly for a game mid-summer following a lengthy DL stint, but after the single game, he was sidelined again. Still recovering from surgery, Cespedes explained at camp that he is still not at 100 percent but says when he comes back he will be ready to go whenever that time may be.
As of right now, it seems the Mets will go with an outfield which will include Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo to start off the 2019 season. If Cespedes would return it would beg the question of where he would fit within the Mets crowded outfield situation at the moment.
Upon returning, Cespedes would have to be eased back into the lineup, as we saw in the 2018 season, rushing him back into the lineup was not the best idea as he still had nagging injuries to deal with. Communication between the two parties is key to having the 2015 Cespedes back because it seemed like putting him back in the lineup after two months only to get sidelined right after may have only put more stress on his injury that the team may have not known all the details about.
The Mets would have to wait for as long as they need to wait for a healthy Cespedes because it could provide a huge boost for them especially later in the season. General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has not put a timetable on when Cespedes could return, which may be for the best as there is no immediate pressure to have him in the lineup right away. Cespedes recently explained that he is now walking without pain and wants to return as soon as he feels he can come back and contribute.
There is no denying Cespedes and the talent he has, especially at the plate. For the Mets, Cespedes has hit .282 with 76 home runs and 201 RBI. His presence at the plate will be felt again once he comes back. He always provides the Mets with an offensive boost that they need.
However, his continuous injuries keep putting a setback on the team. This has been the one major sore on his time in Flushing.
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Van Wagenen has done a good job not putting all the pressure on Cespedes as he seems to be content with the starting outfield he has now. New additions to the lineup have sent a message to Cespedes that they can live without him.