Should potential buyers be weary of signing Yoenis Cespedes?
Yoenis Cespedes had a couple of unbelievable months in August and September after being traded to the New York Mets from the Detroit Tigers. In fact, he’s had a very good year on the whole, batting .291 with 35 home runs and 105 RBI combined between his time with both teams.
However, once October hit and Cespedes stepped on to baseball’s biggest stage, he hasn’t been the same player the Mets had during the second half of the regular season. His offense has gone downhill since the National League Division Series, through the NL Championship Series, and now to the World Series.
Over the course of five games in the NLDS, Cespedes had five hits, two home runs and four RBI. The slugger has not hit a home run in the postseason since. In the NLCS, Cespedes had four hits and collected three more RBI over the four-game series. So far in four games of the World Series, he’s gotten three hits, one RBI and is batting .176 over four games. During the 2015 postseason he has also struck out 17 times in 51 at-bats and has drawn only one walk.
He’s also had a number of problems involving defensive issues in centerfield, as well as his baserunning mistake that ended up being the last out of Game 4 of the World Series. If you looked back into Cespedes’ history, you would may have seen this before.
Cespedes’ first play of the World Series was missing a ball in center hit by Alcides Escobar on Matt Harvey’s very first pitch. He missed it, and it bounced away off of his leg and ended in an inside-the-park home run for Escobar.
Cespedes’ faults are becoming apparent on the big stage, just before he is to enter free agency. He has said that he wants his next contract to be his last. The word is that the 29-year-old is looking for a contract of at least six years and somewhere in the range of $100-120 million. That’s asking a lot for any player, but what about one whose faults are really beginning to become apparent in October.
He made a similar play Saturday night in Game 4, that later allowed the game-tying run to score. We can’t forget him running to second base Saturday when even in Little League, on a liner like the one hit by Lucas Duda, you stay put. You do not begin sprinting towards second base. It’s similar to the “never slide into first base” rule. It’s a basic that everyone knows (even if not everyone practices it).
All of these issues should concern potential Cespedes buyers. Yes, he has a cannon for an arm and a power bat, but as Joel Sherman of the New York Post put it,
“there is a combination of the spectacular and a persistent wonder whether he is a winning player. He has played for four organizations since July 2014 and that is because he is in demand. But is it also because his old clubs do not mind saying goodbye?”
It’s true. There are rumors that he is a hard player to handle, doesn’t like to listen to direction that might improve his defense, that he is basically a diva.Then there are other reports that he is a hard worker and a good teammate.Sherman writes, and it’s absolutely true whether you have been listening on Twitter or have been an Oakland A’s fan, a Tigers fan or even a Boston Red Sox fan,
“If you like Cespedes, you see eccentricity within a magnetic star. If you don’t, you see a diva.”
Even when talking about the missed played ball in Game Four, Mets’ left fielder Michael Conforto owned up to his mistake in believing that Cespedes had called him off. He said the baseball should have been caught.
Cespedes, on the other hand, waited to address the issue and then barely even did, never taking responsibility for his part in the mishap. If he wants a big payout from free agency, that was not the way to handle the situation.
Cespedes has had the chance to bolster his free agency status in the postseason and in the World Series, but all he has done has made the buyers who may have wanted him more weary. It will be quite interesting to see what happens to Yoenis Cespedes in free agency.
From the conflicting reports regarding his disposition, to the reports of him playing 18 holes of golf everyday, to his actions in the World Series and his inability to take responsibility for his mistakes, it’s all going to make it that much harder than I’m sure Cespedes anticipates to be offered the enormous contract he desires.
If anything, with all of Cespedes’ contradictory actions both on and off the field and the varied reports of his temperament, I would simply say to the buyers, beware.