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Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes represents the reward and punishment of risks

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 27: Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the New York Mets kneels down after taking a strike 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 kneels down after taking a strike 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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Yoenis Cespedes represents the biggest rewards and punishments of risks taken by the New York Mets in the last ten years.

Two of the biggest decisions made by the New York Mets in the 2010s involved the same player. In 2015, the decision to acquire Yoenis Cespedes in a July trade with the Detroit Tigers catapulted them to the World Series. This risk represented the rewards a team can reap from such a big decision.

Only months later, the team took another risk. They weren’t punished when they re-signed Cespedes after the 2015 campaign, but the new deal he got after opting out put the Mets in a poor spot from 2017-2019.

Cespedes missed half of 2017, about a quarter of 2018, and all of 2019. Even though they were able to recoup a part of his contract since, the team was unable to add other players during his time on the injured list.

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We can’t blame the Mets for either risk they took with Cespedes. When I looked back at the other decisions they could have made following the 2015 and 2016 seasons, it was quite clear how he was the best option for them moving forward. Who knew things would turn out so poorly?

The problem with this risk turning out so poorly is the franchise may be hesitant to make other deals. Soon-to-be ex-owner (fingers crossed) Jeff Wilpon already used Cespedes as an excuse as to why the team wasn’t in on Bryce Harper or Manny Machado last winter.

As with any transaction, there’s a risk you take by signing a contract to either bring the player to town as a free agent or swap others to acquire his services.

Cespedes is one of, if maybe the only, the few notable Mets to be on both sides of it.

This past decade brought us some famously bad Mets contract. Let’s not forget how Jason Bay was an absolute bust in Flushing. The extensions given to David Wright, Jon Niese, and Juan Lagares all failed in their own way and to different lengths. We got the tail end of Johan Santana when he was already on his way out.

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To borrow the old description I used to hear back in elementary school when describing the beginning of March, Cespedes came in like a lion. In 2020, we’re going to have to hope he doesn’t go out like a lamb.

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