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Mets: Confident Yoenis Cespedes believes he could hit 52 home runs in 2020

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 27: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets hits an RBI double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 27, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 27: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets hits an RBI double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on July 27, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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An extremely motivated Yoenis Cespedes believes he could hit 52 home runs for the New York Mets in 2020.

Yoenis Cespedes is on the campaign trail, making some pretty big promises. The New York Mets outfielder is motivated to return in 2020 for a variety of reasons. Not only is he trying to earn a new contract for the 2021 season, but he’s also trying to recoup some dollars after an agreement with the Mets for an amended contract which guarantees fewer dollars.

Boastful, confident, and maybe unknowingly humble in a tongue-in-cheek way, Cespedes told Eduardo Perez of MLB Network that he believes he could hit 52 home runs in 2020.

It’s a bold claim and an interesting number to choose. Last year, Pete Alonso hit 53 dingers for the Mets. This set a franchise record, beating the previous total of 41 shared by current manager Carlos Beltran and power-hitting catcher Todd Hundley.

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Cespedes’ choice of 52 home runs doesn’t feel like an accident. Is this his way of saying he’ll have a big year but a little hat tip toward the new home run king in Queens, Mr. Polar Bear?

More likely, the 52 long ball declaration is a nod to the number on the back of his jersey. I wouldn’t be the first person to speculate Cespedes cares more about what’s on the rear of his uniform than the front. This goes for the number and the name.

For what it’s worth, Cespedes has hit 163 home runs in his career. Among them, 74 came as a member of the Mets. The most he had in any single season occurred in 2015 when he knocked 17 out of the park while representing New York. The other 18 came in his 102 games for the Detroit Tigers prior to the July trade.

Many Mets fans are eager for a motivated version of Cespedes to return to action. He missed all of 2019 and played in just 38 games for the 2018 squad. Even dating back to 2017 when the team put together possibly the most miserable year of the decade, Cespedes missed half of the team’s games.

Staying on the field has been an issue for Cespedes throughout his career. Since debuting in 2012, he has played in over 135 games only twice.

How absent has he been of late? In two and a half seasons with the Oakland Athletics, he played in 365 games. In his four and a half years with the Mets, he’s at 308.

Cespedes doesn’t have to hit 52 home runs to help turn the fortunes around for the Mets in 2020. What he does need to do is take the field. His “missing in action” status over the past three seasons has held the franchise back from performing at its best, in part because of the money committed to him.

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If all Cespedes does is show up and play, he should deliver. Who knew the biggest addition to the Mets for the 2020 season would already be here?

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