Yoenis Cespedes, LF, Mets
What’s up: The Mets’ season and Cespedes’ season have been a hand-in-hand disaster. The “Amazin’s” are languishing under the .500 mark as they come to Denver on Tuesday to open a three-game series. Cespedes, plagued by various leg injuries, had played in just 56 games and was hitting .277 with 10 homers and 27 RBIS through Friday. In many ways, the left fielder’s season has mirrored that of Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who also has struggled. The two outfielders have been among baseball’s biggest disappointments, the difference being that Cespedes can blame injuries, while Gonzalez cannot.
Background: The 31-year-old Cespedes signed a $110 million, four-year contract in the offseason to remain with the Mets. His prodigious power at the plate and grace in the outfield made him a fan favorite, first in Oakland and then in New York. But he has learned a hard lesson: muscling up is not necessarily good for a baseball player. “My plan is to change my workout program,’’ Cespedes recently told the New York Post. “I want to become more flexible, more athletic, have less bulk (in my legs). I want to do less weight lifting. I’m going to do some different things, I want to do yoga, more stretching. I want to be lighter. I want to come back around 210, lose about 15 pounds.’’
Saunders’ take: It’s beginning to look like the Mets’ decision to re-sign Cespedes was a mistake, but that’s the chance teams must take in this age of big-money contracts. Interestingly, the left fielder recently told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career in Oakland. “I wish that happens,” Cespedes told the Chronicle, adding: “I told (former A’s and current Mets teammate Jerry) Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland. I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal. … I still love the A’s. They were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues. I love Oakland all the time.’ ”