Fans Are Split Over the Mets’ Biggest Offseason Signing
By Nick Ceraso and Jose Rivera
The New York Mets reunite with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, signing him to a team friendly three year deal worth $75 million.
After a lackluster series of offseason moves, Met fans rejoiced when Cespedes took less money than his market value to stay with the 2015 National League champions. With the signing comes some intriguing concepts and some worries. The Mets have given Cespedes a chance to opt out of the contract after the first year and explore free agency again.
The Mets made the right decision to bring Cespedes back to New York. Cespedes was the main reason why the Mets were able to turn their season around in 2015. Before the trade with the Detroit Tigers to acquire Cespedes the Mets were averaging 3.54 runs per game.
After the trade the Mets were averaging 6.14 runs per game. The overall lineup got better after Cespedes arrived and players were able to settle down knowing they had a power bat in the lineup to depend on.
Without Cespedes the Mets would’ve returned to a below average lineup that was struggling to stay above .500.
Do the Mets need Cespedes for all three years of the deal? Absolutely not, the Mets and their fans have been waiting for home grown talent to anchor the lineup but it hasn’t gone that way so far.
First baseman Lucas Duda has inconsistent power numbers from month to month and Catcher Travis d’Arnaud only appeared in 67 games, an injury riddled year that included two trips to the DL.
This is where the opt out option is genius. You only need Cespedes to be the man, the anchor of the lineup until Duda and d’Arnaud are ready to take on that role. For the Mets, Cespedes is a luxury not a necessity.
For the defensive worries that surround him, yes it was scary sometimes to watch him play center but the man hasn’t played center since his days back home in Cuba.
Let’s talk about his defense after he has a month in spring training to return to basics and practice over and over again.
Without Cespedes the Mets go back to being the team from New York with great pitching whose waiting for things to go right.
With Cespedes the Mets are contenders. They are a threat and the proof that proves it all is that they were the 2015 National League Champions.
The New York Mets signing a three year, $75 million deal with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes could become another name on the long list of bad outfield signings.
Cespedes had phenomenal numbers when he was traded to the Mets, posting 17 homeruns with 44 RBIs in the 57 games with the Mets.
However, towards the end of the regular season and playoffs his numbers started to fall as he hit only one homerun in his final 56 at bats in the regular season. In the playoffs his struggles continued as Cespedes batted .222 (12-54) with two homeruns, 8 runs batted in, and 17 strikeouts.
Four years into his career, Cespedes set career highs in 2015 hitting a total of homeruns (35), runs (101), RBIs(105), doubles (42) and .542 slugging, while his .291 batting average fell just short of his career high.
It would seem as though the Mets have finally obtained their power hitter. Cespedes has proven his power, winning two homerun derbies.
In spite of this, Cespedes has had only one 30+ homerun season. Now entering the 2016 season at age 30 and coming off a career high season expect his strikeout rate to continue to increase as he had 141 strikeouts, a career high, as well as his worst walk rate of his career.
While he only played 102 games with the Detroit Tigers, Cespedes won his first Gold Glove for playing left field. Cespedes is known for his cannon like arm but it was his ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 18.8 in left field which became the main reason he took home the gold glove award.
UZR takes into account a fielder’s arm, double play, range, and errors above average.
However, the problem is the Mets will not be starting Cespedes in left, instead he will play center. Michael Conforto will be in left during the 2016 season.
Defensively, the Mets could be in trouble for the 2016 season and beyond. Cespedes UZR was -3.2 when playing in center field last year a major difference compared when he plays in left.
Mets fans have seen the struggles of Cespedes in center. Just look back at game one of last year’s World Series. The signing also puts Juan Lagares, who won the Gold Glove for center field in 2014, on the bench.
Although the Mets are expecting Cespedes’ homeruns to bring the Mets wins, his centerfield position could counter effect his runs.