Posted by Peter Hyatt at 11:00 AM
When the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to a $110 million dollar contract, an astute observer commented about the potential for trouble that was specific. Cespedes' journey of 5 teams in 6 years was not by accident. Alderson knew this when he signed him, under pressure from the fans.
What was this potential for trouble?
It was more than just the usual locker-room non-sense or penchant for attention.
It was even more than his occasional refusal to hustle, run out fly balls, or even slide, though these things are serious and dangerously contagious to teams.
It was even more than his refusal to speak English, or speak directly to management, opting to go through "his people" and translator.
It was even more than his age, which is in doubt, as he may be at least one year older than claimed, just as his "heroic flight" from Cuba has been re-told by main stream media without the detail of leaving behind his son.
It was about his head.
When Cespedes is hot, he is hitting for both average and for power. He can, as he showed in the late summer of 2015, carry a team.
When he is cold, he not only takes this attitude onto the field and base paths, but he takes it...
off the field.
He claims injury that is, to put it politely, not as serious as he dramatically choreographically portrays it.
A few weeks ago, in his refusal to run, he, once again, did the "start/stop" halting thing on the base paths where injury is easily caused, with his non hustle.
This time, he had to be, literally, helped off the field by two men. To be almost carried off the field led announcers to proclaim the doom for the Mets offense. It appeared serious.
Sandy Alderson knows the truth.
He finally spoke out and revealed what has been whispered about.
Alderson sent Cespedes for MRI...on his back.
Cespedes has been out of action for quite a while now and medical testing shows not only no serious injury to his hamstring but it reveals no inflammation, nor even fluid build up.
No swelling, no inflammation, no tears, no nothing.
There are two things that may contribute to his possible exaggeration of injury and these are the two elements spoken before the season.
1. The self-annointed "El Hombre" pouts when he slumps and will take himself out of the line up, claiming injury, to protect his frail narcissistic ego.
There is something else that "The Man" cannot bear:
2. He cannot bear anyone else being "El Hombre" on the team.
Michael Conforto ripped his way into the line up.
Jay Bruce is tearing it up, whereas he was not given a contract extension and was attempted to be traded, while the money went to Cespedes.
Is Cespedes injured?
I think so.
Is it as serious as he makes out?
Sandy Alderson doesn't seem to think so. Regarding the MRI of the back, Alderson carefully qualified his statement, yet:
"The reason we did it is because he's had hamstring injuries a couple of times without any firm diagnosis because the hamstrings didn't show significant injury, swelling, fluid, those kinds of things. So in order to rule out anything more concerning, we had him come up and run through the tests."
To be in such pain as to need to be helped off the field and to be out for weeks, even slight build up of fluid is expected. There should have been some evidence of an actual injury to the hamstring.
Originally in Spring Training, Mets PR said that Cespesdes was in his best condition and even getting to the work out gym at 5am. The boasting was deliberate and over the top as it sought to answer some doubts that had swirled, especially in light of the huge contract. No doubt Cespedes is strong, but a later photograph with him without his shirt on cast doubt upon the public relations claim. Not only was the claim unnecessary for a world class athlete, which only brings more suspicion, it led to embarrassment when the photo circulated.
"I think knowing that there's not a significant physiological issue with his back points us in the direction of just making sure, on a routine basis, he and we are doing everything we can to make sure he's well-conditioned.
If doctors cannot find anything wrong with his hamstring, this is a smart, sensible medical move.
After a torrid Spring Training and start to the season, Cespedes slumped and watched his average drop and two others pass his coveted home run lead.
Alderson is a smart man. He is sometimes betrayed by his own ego, but he is no dummy.
This public revelation to the press was by design.
He may be attempting to get his $110 million dollar investment on to the playing field.