When the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes on the final day of the 2015 trade deadline, the organization was in the uptick as in being a team that was ready to make the playoffs.
He played a role in getting the Mets thereby coming up with home runs after home runs. They rewarded him to a four-year contract extension after the 2016 season ended.
The Mets stunk the last few years, and Cespedes spent time on the injured list for the last few seasons. Now with this organization going nowhere fast, Cespedes decided to opt-out of not playing this season for COVID-19 reasons, and that likely means he played his last game as a Met since he is a free agent. He knew this was his last season as a Met since the team was not resigning him as a 34-year-old player with chronic injuries.
It wasn’t Cespedes opting-out that rankled the Mets. He decided to let his agent speak for him about opting-out rather than him telling the team in person on Sunday afternoon.
The Mets reported him missing since he never showed up for the team game against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon, and then Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen reported that Cespedes’ agent told him that his client packed his bags and just opted-out.
Oh, and the Mets lost their fifth straight game after taking a 4-0 loss to the Braves at Trust Park.
So not only are the Mets playing awful baseball, but their own star decided that it was not worth his time to play for them anymore. Anyway anyone slices it, he quit on them, especially when he decided it was not worth his time to call them. It’s hard to say anyone is speculating here when he did this all of a sudden without telling the team. There was a purpose to this on his part.
Savage Cespedes all you want. He deserves it. He came out awful. But his sudden departure serves as an indictment of the Mets organization that he would quit on them without talking to them. A well-run organization such as the Yankees, Braves, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, and St. Louis Cardinals would not have incidents such as this. Obviously, the lack of communication served as the center of what happened with Cespedes.
The Mets tolerated Cespedes’ behavior for years since he helped them win games. He would often golf, even when he was injured. He complained about how he missed playing for the Oakland Athletics to A’s San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Susan Slusser a few years ago when the A’s came to town to play the Mets for an interleague series. He indirectly ripped Mets manager Terry Collins by praising A’s manager Bob Melvin as a manager.
They knew he was a flake prior to acquiring him. He would be moody often, and he would be such high maintenance for teams. He once complained about playing right field for the Boston Red Sox, so they accommodated him by moving him to left field, and he still complained. He did not want to put in the work of being an outfielder.
No one complained since he produced. But, the Mets knew if they were going to go bad, he would be disengaged.
This is where culture matters. Great organizations produce a winning culture by demanding accountability from their players. They make sure players come out ready to play every game. Teams tend to have their players fundamentally sound. Just watch this weekend’s series against the Braves, you can tell what team has an awful culture and a great culture. The winner of those three games and the loser of those three games told you the story.
The Mets are an awful baseball team. We knew it when the season started. They can’t field, and their bullpen can’t pitch. Oh, and injuries of Marcus Stroman and Noah Syndergaard hampered them. No wonder they are 3-7 with no hope in sight.
One can only feel bad for Mets manager Luis Rojas. He does not have a great team that can win him games. A bad bullpen can make a manager incompetent, and Dellin Betances and Edwin Diaz pitched so awful by blowing leads. This team reflects how poorly Van Wagenen built the roster.
Not only are the Mets awful, but off-the-field issues plague the Mets often.
We can blame managers and general managers all we want. They come and go, and the same things happen. Someone represents constant, and that would be the Wilpons. Another reason why it will never get better unless they sell the team, and there’s no guarantee they will.
Well-run organizations don’t have episodes like the Mets have.
Cespedes’ final act and the losing told everything that is wrong about the Mets.
Only a new owner can extinguish this dumpster fire.
Featured Image: John Minchillo/Associated Press