Reese Kaplan -- A No Yo Future

With all of the acrimony about the Mets’ refusal to entertain a return of Yoenis Cespedes, I got to thinking what was really the issue here?  He’s a quality ballplayer for sure, and arguably better than anyone currently on the offensive side of the roster.  He carried the team on his back and catapulted the Mets into their first post-season in seemingly forever and their first World Series appearance in 15 years.  All of these facts are well documented already.  However, I don’t think that’s the crux of the issue at all.

What Mets fans tasted last year was something that’s been lacking since soon-to-be-Hall-of-Famer Mike Piazza departed for San Diego and later Oakland.  What he had was a presence in the lineup that could turn the game around with a single swing of the bat.  As long as the game was within 4 runs and you knew Mike Piazza was coming up, then you wouldn’t want to get up for a beer or flip the channel because you knew his at-bat had the potential to be something special.

During this past summer Yoenis Cespedes brought that kind of magic to the Mets ballclub.  It wasn’t simply the homers.  It was the fear in the opposing pitchers’ eyes and the belief that as long as Yo was scheduled to hit then the game wasn’t really over. 

There have been other must-see ABs by Mets players in the past.  During the lean years of the 1970s and early 1980s Dave Kingman provided those kind of will he or won’t he moments (though in his case it was going to be a K or long ball and not much else). 

As good as the 1986 team was, there were hitters all around the lineup who could help contribute to victories.  Sorry, but Gary Carter coming to the plate was a good thing but not a legendary thing.  Ditto Keith Hernandez.  That team could win a multitude of ways with the baserunning of Mookie Wilson and Lenny Dykstra , the balls up the gap from Ray Knight and Wally Backman, and of course the stellar pitching.  They didn’t have that Roy Hobbsian Wonderboy element yet managed to dominate their way to the incredible Game 6 comeback and Game 7 win. 

What Yoenis Cespedes did for the team last year is undeniable but if you look at his track record it was also unsustainable.  The Cuban basher was a solid if not superstar caliber player good for 25 HRs and 88 RBIs prior to this one breakout season.  Now, no one would turn down that kind of production, but it’s not the stuff on which Cooperstown careers are built.  Baseballreference.com has him ranked just barely inside the top 1000 players of all time between luminaries like Jason Kipnis and Manny Mota. 

While everyone is rightfully frustrated about the lie perpetrated that the team would spend when they contended and the gate receipts increased, doling out David Wright money to another player providing good but unspectacular production would be bad business all around.  Yes, they could use another centerfield option – perhaps a speed burner like Denard Span or Ben Revere – to add a dimension to their attack, but with the Madoff mess still very much a part of the Wilpons’ collective debt it’s unlikely to see superstar sluggers getting long term deals for the foreseeable future.  


Thomas Brennan said...

I hear you, Reese, but I still want Yo.

bob gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob gregory said...

Respectfully disagree.

Economics of Major League Baseball is such that 5 tool outfielders that produce and are considered probable future "Hall of Fame Players", would receive contracts much larger than Cespedes will receive this off season.

Cespedes will not even receive a contract that is at the level Heywood received this year.

I don't believe anybody has been forecasting Heywood as a "Hall of Fame Player" yet.

So, Cespedes' price will more than likely be appropriate for Major League Baseball's current economics, if not more to the bargain side due to the perceived lack of interest.

Reese Kaplan said...

I should have clarified -- it's unlikely to see sluggers getting long term deals FROM THE METS for the foreseeable future.

lccfci said...

How could you leave Straw man's name off the list....excuse me??

Eddie Corona said...

We should offer a 1 year deal for 24 million and keep the clause where we wouldn't be able to offer arbitration, this way he can go back on the market next year and he can establish his value with a team that is a WS contender...

bob gregory said...

Now THAT is appearantly undeniable.

Reese Kaplan said...

@ICCFCI -- wow, major egg on my face. My bad. Darryl was indeed that kind of player.

Thomas Brennan said...

If Yo falls far enough, I'd sign him. It seems the fall is underway

Thomas Brennan said...

Like it, Eddie.

Thomas Brennan said...

If Yo falls far enough, I'd sign him. It seems the fall is underway

Metsiac said...

Saying you won't see contracts of more than 4 years at big bucks from the Mets is not necessarily a bad thing. It would take an EXCEPTIONAL player who really WANTS to be here and who has demonstrated his ability to deal with New York.

Yo would meet the second part of that, but not enough of the first part. If he'd sign a deal like Gordon's, the Mets shouldn't hesitate.But no more than 4 years.

I challenge anyone to look back 10 years and find long-term deals that have really worked for the team. I see Holliday, and probably Grandy.

Nut then I see at least 10 that turned out to be total busts or two good years that turned into busts.


bob gregory said...

1st Alex Rodriguez contract.

bob gregory said...

Derek Jeter's big contract.
Miguel Cabrera.

bob gregory said...

Miguel Cabrera
Buster Posey
Manny Ramirez
Troy Tulowitzki
Adrian Gonzalez
Mike Trout
Freddie Freeman
Ken Griffey Jr
Ryan Braun
Albert Pujols 1st big contract

bob gregory said...

Mariano Rivera

S. Finch said...

Come on now Bob...lets take this one at a time…

None of Adrian gonzalez, Buster Posey, Freddie freeman, or Mike trout are more than half way through their contracts.

Miguel Cabrera. First contract was great, the extension has widely been viewed as a terrible decision.

Braun no way, he has been awful and tulowitzki is debatable

Ken griffey jr- obviously a great player and hofer, but the reds contract was a disaster. He was never the same player with the reds.

Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, and Derek Jeter, Manny, pujols, great contracts.

So from this we can conclude, signing a hall of famer (or close to it) before they hit age 30 to a big contract is a pretty good decision.

Yoenis is not in the same league of player as most that you mentioned, and is considerably older than all the players whose contracts turned out good.

S. Finch said...

The problem with Yoenis is fairly simple. We need a cf, not a corner outfielder. Yoenis' has shown to be a terrible defensive cf. I would imagine the mets would live with his defense if he could hit like he did in 2015. However, 2015 is such an outlier offensively. If he returns to his offensive norm and plays cf, he would be a disaster.

On top of that he is 30, has some (minor as it seems) attitude questions, and wants 25+ per year. Quite the gamble..

bob gregory said...


My response can not be made any better than in many of the explanations you made regarding the 1st contracts.

The question was not: Which players have ALWAYS received EVERY ONE of their big contracts and had it worth while.

The question was: Simply. Give examples of when big contracts that worked out for the team.

So, without researching, just off the top of my head, I came up with
6 examples you admit are great examples.
2 that you admit are debateable.
and 2 that you question, but the players performance can easily be used to debate your judgement.

Cespedes is a different question.
Keep in mind also, just as you state that Cespedes is not in the same category as many of the above players, it is looking more and more likely that he will not receive a "top of the league" contract.

It is looking more probable that Cespedes's contract will be for 4-5 yrs and possibly below $20 million/yr.

Remember, Top of the league contracts are now pushing $25-$35 million/yr.

S. Finch said...

You are correct. However, I still think at minimum cespedes gets a 100+ contract. If we had Michael conforto, the young cf and Juan lagares, the struggling lf, I would be right behind you and others advocating a cespedes or Upton signing. Current situation is more of a square peg, round hole in my opinion.

Denard Span on the other hand...

Gary Seagren said...

To me it was Darryl and Mike who I wouldn't miss an AB. Kingman only because he was our offense in the dark days and only us OCD Met fans cared. It looks to me as though it would behoove us as a franchise, knowing the disaster of long term 2nd gen. contracts, to use our good young talent until 2 years before FA and deal them for 2 or 3 top prospects avoiding the dreaded long term deal and restocking the farm. The FO probably won't ever spend big $$$ again and frankly its probably the best option anyway.

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