Peter Hyatt - Mets' Concerns About Yoenis Cespedes


The Mets' brass frustration with Yoenis Cespedes and his latest injury increases as he is not even resuming baseball activities due to hamstring strain.  

Here is the basis of the culmination of frustrations with him:

              Yoenis Cespedes is not an ideal employee. 

This is how they see him. 

The Mets invested a small fortune in him with the expectation that his nomadic wanderings, caused by his own behaviors, was at an end, and that he would, with this tremendous paycheck, not only give maximum effort, but would put team first.

Cespedes worked hard building muscle this off season but he did it predominantly, the way he wanted to do it:  lots of leg presses of very high numbers.  

It was muscle over flexibility and it was likely muscle he did not need to keep hitting home runs.  

Concerns remain not only about the secluded workouts and demands over where, when and how he rehabs, but whispers about over building of muscle, possible enhancement with PEDs, and a body of imbalances:  with some muscles stronger than other muscles, tendons and ligaments can bear up with, and work well together in baseball. 

There is no formal accusation of PEDs, nor is this an accusation.  It is a question that readers may hear raised more and more, not only about Cespedes, but about other players who are hitting more home runs than we've seen in the last few years.   

Before offering him the $110 million dollar contract, the internal debates were likely more contentious than we may believe.  In spite of media reports, there were no strong tangible offers for Cespedes.  By "strong tangible", money was not the issue; teams wanted behavioral concessions, including oversight and team rules, with the possibility that one team may have even sought an informal psych eval (you know, just sit down and talk)  prior to an actual offer.  Money was not the question, though some may believe that the hesitancy combined with behavioral stipulations (which MLB union would have opposed) helped lower his asking price of length of contract for the Mets.

It was not a "home team" discount in spite of what PR floated that caused Cespedes to sign with the NY Mets.

Yoenis Cespedes is not likely to be faking his injury but his isolation and independence, from the workouts to his current status, has angered his employers.  

This is something to be considered. 

 The Mets' brass may be debating the extent of any injury, his time table, and his independence and work out schedule and time table. 

 When Sandy Alderson publicly announced that he had asked Cespedes to take MRI for his back, Alderson deliberately told the public that no leg injury was evidenced.  

It did not have the desired affect, as Cespedes did not rush back,  and it is increasingly getting on the nerves of a team risking falling out of contention. 

Not only this, but internal debate of what impact this attitude has had on others, including Syndergaard and Harvey, and what it could do to younger players, has caused some pointing fingers of blame. 

It is likely that they believe he is not just keeping himself out of the line up but has kept himself, as he did during part of the off season:  out of  team management's observing and overseeing eyes.  

They also feel his off season workout program, being "unapproved" by the Mets, may have contributed to his legs even as his lack of hustle, and "halting" on the base paths has contributed.  In short, watching a fly ball, every so often, caused him to suddenly sprint , straining overbuilt and slightly inflexible slow twitch fibers in his massive legs.  

 Others debate that his need for secrecy itself, is troublesome and worrisome to ownership who do not want to deal with any PED rumors.   This is a not-so-often talked about issue with PEDs:  muscle and body imbalance.  

Some believe his love of golf is only exceeded by his love of marching to the beat of his own drum.  

The employer wants the employee following rules that would get him and keep him on the field.  

Could Ces be playing, even if not at 100%?  Few 31 year olds (or 32?)  in professional sports ever are perfectly 100% physically.  

With Cespedes, there is this complexity of personality  that the Mets knew of before the contract was offered. 

Psychologically, Yoenis Cespedes is the opposite of his physical body:  he is acutely fragile.   Not only have other teams seen this (and passed on him) but Mets fans have seen it, Met players have seen it, and even announcers had to deliberately ignore it, going back to the 2015 World Series.  Recall what the veteran Cespedes did when he misplayed a fly ball.  He broke with tradition and crossed the invisible line when he blamed the rookie, Michael Conforto.  

This is ignored because, as late summer 2015 showed, he can heat up and be, for 6 or 7 weeks, one of the elite of baseball.  Even his down time, he is still a good player, but they never know when he will be "up" and ready and when he will be brooding and dark.  

Cespedes' issues are downplayed or sometimes ignored  as some fear the displeasure  of Alderson.  It was  Alderson's pitch to ownership to give Cespedes the huge money, arguing that the limiting of years meant he would still be productive at the end of the contract:  fingers firmly crossed in hope.  

This is Yoenis Cepedes in a nut shell:  He sees himself as heroic,  raised without a father,  fleeing Cuba with his son (he left one behind) and a hero, but it is his fragility dictating his need to over-aggrandize not only his performance, but himself, to desperately protect himself from criticism... from his own self.  

In short, is he  providing himself  an "out" for disappointment by staying out of the game until he is "100%?

 Just before the season began, I was told by an unnamed source:

"See his torrid Spring?  This is his talent.  It is unsustainable over a long season.  Should he slump, he will have an injury.  You watch. The injury will be minor, but he will stay out until he is good and ready..." 

Hence, he was "carried off the field" in front page (back page sports) drama.  

Hence, the frustration of Sandy Alderson, his employer. 

The Mets have scored plenty of runs without Yoenis Cepedes but they need him.  

1.  Cespedes needs to be needed.  He does not root his teammates on, while out injured.  He broods when others are "the man" with home run power (Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto) his most sensitive point.  

2.  The Mets need the excitement his long ball can bring, as these competitors sometimes feed off him.  Some of the younger players were in awe at some of the weights Cespedes pushed with his legs  while others, mostly vets, rolled their eyes.  But all agree:  Cespedes impacts them.  

The highs and the lows are rarely dull.  When he is hot, he scorches, but when he is not, he drags his body and glove out to left field and his body language tells you that he's acting like a pouting 7 year old.  

Noted by vets was Cespedes not traveling with the team as some injured leaders like to do to support others. 

Alderson and the New York Mets did not approve of his golf and extra curicuccular activities but felt helpless to deal with it. The others noticed it. 

 When Matt Harvey did not fear simply not showing up...again, because his gf did not heart him on social media, and Noah Syndergaard was bold enough to refuse the MRI, we saw a locker room culture where accountability is absent.  

Some Mets may believe that Yoenis Cespedes' injury is not serious enough to warrant a missed month and a half of employment. 

The frustration grows. 

It was a bold move by Alderson to publicly announce that doctors could find no evidence of an injury.  For Alderson to even mention the most minor of evidence, "fluid", it was a carefully chosen wording meant to communicate to Yoenis Cespedes through the public.  

Few major league ball players ever have the rare perfection of health; they play though aches and pains and all sorts of injuries because of their competitive drive.  

In our culture, it is considered a masculine strength to endure hardness.  

We learn how some hockey players have played through broken bones, even in playoff games, while routinely we see them have their teeth knocked out, receive stitches in the mouth and return immediately to the ice.  Concussions?  They lie about seeing double just to keep playing as they sacrifice for one another for the common goal.  

In baseball, the "bloody sock" as well as all the heroes who did some pretty amazing things while keeping their injuries private, stand as a testament to courage in competition.  

Continue to monitor brass statements for insight. Listen to the carefully chosen words they use. 

Here is where we learn much.  

Ces has a psychological  "out" as to why Bruce and Conforto are leading in home runs with his missed time.  This is something he can accept.  

Hamstring Issues 

Did his extreme muscle building this off season contribute to muscular imbalance?  (he has a history of leg lifts) 

Did the strength coach's cheering him on to higher and higher numbers of leg crunches in the machine that mimics squats, but without the overall benefit of squats, make him vulnerable to running injuries? 

 Natural squatting with free weights impacts the entire body, as it works in concert, and does not isolate the legs, while the special machine Ces used did, in fact, isolate the slow twitch large muscles in his already strong legs. 

How much of this falls on the strength coach?

What about his immediate supervisor?

What of possible PED enhancement?  

Older athletes rely on a cocktail of testosterone, testosterone related/HGH and anti estrogens (breast cancer rx).  The HGH promotes healing (the anti aging drug of choice for Roger Clemens) and recovery, especially for older athletes.   With heavy increase in testosterone, the athlete who is pushing very heavy weights will push more, become psychologically enamored with this, while ingesting massive proteins, and will recover faster, as in just 6 weeks the three necessary stages are reached:

1.  muscle fiber microscopic tearing (trauma) and healing individually; (weeks 1 and 2) 
2.  muscle fibers working in concert with each other; (weeks 3 and 4) 
3.  muscle hypertrophy. (week 5 and 6).  This is where they visibly see what happened to their body in just 6 weeks.  

With pushing larger and larger weights, Cespedes may have imbalanced his body; making it stronger, but not with equal flexibility.  

Noah Syndergaard's injury may have been the result of 17 pounds of added muscle in just one off season; something an elite athlete's body does not normally do. Some experts will claim that professional  top athletes cannot  put on this much muscle in such a short time without PEDs. 

Whatever it may be, the time table for Yoenis Cepedes' return is pushed back at least another 2 weeks so that he can go from jogging, to running, to fielding, to hitting and to actual game playing.  

2 weeks might be optimistic, though Mets continue to try to get him back on the field. 


Mack Ade said...

Morning Peter.

First, a word about writing here on Mack's Mets.

I welcome writers here to express THEIR opinions about baseball and the Mets and promise them no editing of what they write, other than a spelling error here and there (putting me in charge of correcting errors is scary).

Peter writes with an edge and I LOVE it. It adds another dimension to this site that other sites do not offer.

Yoenes Cespedes fans may not like this post, but it is written intelligently and represents how Peter honestly feels. That's all it is. An opinion. If you have a different one, offer yours as a comment here in an equally intelligent manner.

With this being said...

I agree with Peter here. Cespedes is a special player. So in Odell Beckham Jr. for the NY Giants. Both seem to be unable to be handled but, as long as they perform at the top level they are capable of, I keep them.

I am from New York City. I like working with talented people. Not all talented people are likable.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a wonderful piece and he should continue to share his opinions, regardless of whose feathers it may ruffle. I like the idea of YC's bat in the lineup and his glove in LF, but you almost wonder if his "diva like" off field behavior/needs are worth it?

This season is not going to get better, so I wonder how much longer YC will be out of action?


Anonymous said...

Could you please show this guy's, Peter's, credentials? What sort of expert is he? Is he a MD, a Physical Therapist, a Personal Trainer, or a nobody?
He's throwing statements around like nickels at an arcade. Isn't MLB testing players for illegal substances? How would Cespedes get around that all these years? The Mets have not commented on how Cespedes' workouts may have affected his muscles. How can one imply that whatever caused Noah and Matt to violate team policy was Cespedes' fault? Yes, Cespedes marches by the beat of his own drum. We have been told that he insists on playing hurt, but this writer insists otherwise. How does he know that? Cespedes has flaws, but I doubt most of what this guy wrote is backed by facts.

Thomas Brennan said...

I would like to think Cespedes is earnest and not dogging it.

His leg injury might well be linked to his offseason workout regimen running head-on into playing in chilly April NY weather. That HAS to be considered when working out - flexibility in cold weather months is critical to avoiding injury.

I think that the team and Cespedes made a huge mistake in April sitting him for 5 days after he tweaked the hammy and then not putting him on the DL for 5 more games....it is just 5 games in April. Now he has missed a slew of games, and then Cespedes compounded it by scoring all the way from first base the VERY FIRST rehab game and set himself back at least another several games. Be smart. Returning too soon and getting reinjured is just stupid. And that applies to right now as well. Make sure the legs are good - no more setbacks.

Mack Ade said...

Anonymous -

Why is it all responses like yours are always written by people that do not join the site and add their real name?

As for Peter, you miss the point I made in my first comment.

Peter has no special Mets talent here. Nor do I or any of the other Mets writers on this site. We just have opinions, that's all.

As for his credentials... in life... he lives in Maine and is a 'detection instructor' to organizations like the FBI

Anonymous said...

Totally cheap, unfounded shot on the PEDs claim.

I realize we now live in an upside down world where "opinion" is just as important as "fact," but it's disappointing that it has become the standard followed here.

Viper said...

First off, the Mets bid against themselves to continue employing Cespedes. He would be very hard to trade if the Mets wanted to.

As we have seem by ourselves, he doesn't play at 100% all the time. He will be lazy at times and that is not a good example for the young players on the team.

The scary part is that this is the first year of the new contract. What will year 2,3 and 4 bring?

David Rubin said...

Peter/ with all due respect, you are completely wrong in your view as to how the organization sees Cespedes. I have been in pretty regular contact with somebody ranking high in the team's organization and they feel the only mistake that he had made was trying to over prepare this off-season with his weight training in order to justify the contract that he signed. He desperately wants to be a hall of fame caliber baseball player and wants to bring multiple championships to the state of New York. He is actually quite beloved by his teammates and he is rooting for them desperately. His injuries are actually causing the team to re-evaluate the extent of their weight training reliance and the thought that perhaps they need to go more for durability instead of raw weightlifting. He is no more suspected of PEDs than anyone in the game since we know there are fast acting steroids that remain above detection. Casting him in that light is unfair until any evidence is shown. The Mets knew that they would enter into a bidding war at some point and there would be a team who would offer more years so they were very preemptive in signing him as quickly as they did, and with the way money is thrown around assuming that he did not have other offers coming or would not have other offers of even more money is incorrect. A lot of the golf he plays is with other members of the organization just as often as it isn't. They are aware of his golfing and whenever they have had a problem with him doing it they have told him so and he refrained. He is not this uncontrollable force of nature who is selfish and self-centered that you seem to be making him out to be. I enjoy your articles and I understand that you are incredible in your field and that is to be applauded but today, in this case, you have swung pretty far from the mark and your critique of him and how he is perceived.

Thomas Brennan said...

I don't like to speculate on PED use - aside from that, Cespedes holds the final cards - come back and play healthy and like an MVP and everyone will relax and smile.

Reese Kaplan said...

Allow me to echo the sentiment that Peter's opinions make for great reading. If you get people talking, then you've succeeded in what you've set out to do. Peter's done that in spades.

Regarding Cespedes, he is what he is. Make him feel big and important and he'll play like he's big and important. Start to take him for granted and the effort and/or desire will wane. I'm not going to speculate whether or not he's using the injury as an excuse right now, but god knows it can't be a fun thing to come to that awful mess of a team every day. The whole issue could be an overzealous workout regimen that put strength ahead of flexibility.

Alexander Han said...

For what it's worth, I like to read when people come up with a different angle or opinion on baseball and how it's played, or what the team should do, who they promote, fire, who to shift, whose swing to tweak. Which prospect is on the up....

That's what keeps me coming back to Mack's Mets.

But for me, this piece is just someone's fantasy, a conspiracy theorist projecting his imagination onto an athlete, and being allowed to do so unchecked by a third party. And what's worse, it's bad fantasy, it's untrue, I'd be willing to put money, a lot of money, down that most of this conjecture is untrue. If there were any facts, anything credible, anything hard there, I'd be willing to consider it.

Blogging is supposed to approximate journalism in some way but to me, it crosses a line when you put words into someone else's mouth, when you present imagination as fact, or quote. What's the point of saying "internal debates were likely more contentious" and "concerns remain" and "whispers about..."

I gather some people enjoyed the piece, and Peter's other rantings about Yoenis, but for me, it degrades the site.

I do agree 100% that both Yoenis and Noah have done the team harm by pumping "dumb" muscle instead of "smart" muscle. There is a really important story there to be written. But stick to the facts, talk to some experts. don't make up front office intrigue.

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