Yo? Yo? Where are you Yo? This has been the question on a lot of Mets fans minds as the team’s star slugger has fallen off the map since he went on the disabled list on May 13th. True, there is no question this lineup sorely misses the slugger’s big bat in the lineup as the injury coincides with the beginning of the Mets plummet down the standings. Despite the need in their lineup, New York has said that Cespedes isn’t close to returning as the star left fielder is back on the disabled list with a lower body injury. With the wear and tear on Cespedes in left field along with a chronic heel problem there could be a solution on the horizon that will hopefully keep the Mets slugger on the field.
According to the New York Daily News Cespedes has been taking ground balls at first base during his rehab in Port St. Lucie and the organization has hinted it is looking to move the slugger to first base to eliminate the wear and tear playing in the outfield. Physically speaking this makes a lot of sense for a player that has only played in 118 games over the past two seasons and at the age of 32 already has a chronic heel problem coupled with multiple lower body injuries. Let’s not forget the Mets have already tried to do this with Jay Bruce, but in training camp the Bruce reportedly balked at the move to first.
Unlike Bruce it has been reported that Cespedes is open to the change to first and given that the Mets don’t have an immediate solution at first base the timing is perfect. Dominic Smith has been a massive disappointment since his call up as a highly touted prospect. As of July 12th he has one RBI this season. Just one.
Many fans have been clamoring for the team’s second rated prospect on MLB Pipeline Peter Alonso to be called up to Flushing, but despite a fast start Alonso has cooled off considerably. Even if he finishes strong, multiple reports are that the Mets have no interest in calling him up this year.
Let’s not forget that Cespedes is going to have to play. He’s still owed over $58 Million over the final two years of his contract after this season. Plus, it would benefit the Mets because of the log jam of outfielders. Brandon Nimmo has played like an All Star this season but even though he has the flexibility to play center, he’s better suited for a corner spot. Not to mention Michael Conforto who the Mets hope will regain his former All Star form and Jay Bruce who is still under contract for an additional two years. With all these outfielders on the roster and the need for the team to find a true center fielder in the offseason, moving Cespedes helps alleviate the corner outfield spots.
At this point Cespedes is a below average outfield defender and is a pure slugger. With first base open the Mets could move him there to try to get him to play over 130 games next season. He may be the most valuable player to their lineup in baseball because without him, the Mets offense has been putrid and statistically one of the worst in baseball. This also allows the Mets to continue to develop Alonso in the minors until he is ready to take over or grow his trade value if the Mets need a chip in a future trade.
The next month will undoubtedly be used to decide the roster makeup of the New York Mets going forward, but the final months of the season should be used to develop Yoenis Cespedes into the 2019 first baseman. A move that not only give the team flexibility in the outfield while filling a need at first base, but most importantly a move that will hopefully allow Cespedes to stay on the field.