Fennelly: Silent Cespedes to Let His Bat Do the Talking

John Fennelly
New York Mets, Yeonis Cespedes
Jul 20, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Mets designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes (52) adjusts his sunglasses during warms up before a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Who cares if New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cepedes speaks to the media or not? I certainly don’t, and you shouldn’t, either.

We’re talking about a player who hasn’t played in a game since July 20, 2018 and has had so many unusual injuries and setbacks, his career has become bizarre to the point where it’s almost comical.

Cespedes was once the Mets’ cornerstone player, their main power source. But times have changed. The team’s talent base has grown. They are the team of Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Amed Rosario now.

Cespedes’ heel problems and run-in with a wild boar on his ranch last year are a backstory these days. The Mets are more concerned with their two massive faux pas this offseason – the poor vetting that led them to hire – and fire – manager Carlos Beltran and the botched sale of the franchise to billionaire Steven A. Cohen.

Cespedes is currently just getting back into the swing of things. He doesn’t really have a place in the lineup or even on the roster. His salary for this season was to be nearly $30 million but the Mets had him over a barrel after fracturing his ankle in an encounter with a wild boar and whittled his salary down to approximately $6 million for this season. He can gain back $20 million via incentives, but that means he’d have to stay healthy, which is something he hasn’t been able to do.

Asked to make a few statements upon his return to the team in Port St. Lucie on Monday, Cespedes was respectful but curt.

“No,” he said. “Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year”.

Asked why, he simply replied: “because I don’t want to”.

Fine. Like I said, who cares what he has to say, anyway. It would just add to the non-baseball fodder that’s been permeating this team’s narrative thus far in 2020. WFAN’s Joe Benigno agrees with me that Cespedes is better off staying quiet and letting his bat do the talking.

“I don’t care if he doesn’t talk to the media,” Benigno said on the air Monday. “Go play. As long as he plays, go out there, get my team a big year, I don’t care if you talk to anybody. I don’t care. You don’t talk to the wild boars. You don’t talk to the camels. I don’t care who you don’t talk to. Go out there and get my team a big freaking year. That’s all that matters to me about Yoenis Cespedes. He’s not going to be on the team next season. We know that. This is it. It’s his last year here no matter what. Go out and take my team to a World Series.”

The Mets are hoping they can get anything out of the 34-year-old slugger, who looked better than expected in the batting cage on Monday.

“His mindset is really to go into the progression, to get into the feel of doing the activity out there,” manager Luis Rojas said. “He claims, ‘It’s almost been like two years since I’ve seen pitchers.’ But he was ticking the ball. He was on time. That’s not easy to do. So he’s happy that he’s joining the guys, he’s joining the team and he’s doing the activities. I think he felt good about his timing today and how some things played out during the workout.”