By: Paul DiSclafani
To all the naysayers out there – can there be any doubt that Sandy Alderson is “The Man” anymore? While New Yorker’s were bracing for the first snowstorm of the season and getting ready for bed, the big new broke. The Mets landed Cespedes – again!
My goodness, with all the Met bashing that has been bantered about on Social Media in the last few days, you would have no idea that the Mets were the defending National League Champions. While everyone else was supposed to be close to signing Cespedes, the Mets shored up the middle infield with a new double play combination and improved the bullpen by signing Bastardo yesterday. But they continued to get killed because they still hadn’t gotten the big bat that they needed.
Well, welcome back, Yoenis!
And the best part is they didn’t need to make a 6-year commitment. General manager Sandy Alderson said time and again that he would not commit that many years to any player. Oh the vitriol that hit the airways here in NY! The cries for the owners to sell the team, calling them the “Coupons” (I kind of chuckled at that).
All because Alderson wasn’t about to mortgage the future over a guy that had a wonderful 57 days? Actually, he didn’t even hit his first home run until his 11th game as a Met and he almost disappeared over the final two weeks of the season, so it was more like a fantastic month.
But he was the impact player the Mets needed then and certainly need right now. He forced managers to notice, pitchers to get nervous and got everyone around him better pitches to hit.
With this pitching staff returning, barring injury, the Mets couldn’t afford to have a pop-gun offense again. With Spring Training just 27 days away, the clock was ticking and all the other available bats were disappearing.
Realistically, I think it was the Nationals getting into the mix that caused the Mets to finally make him an offer. The thought of Murphy-Harper-Cespedes in the middle of any lineup you have to face 18-19 times a year would have been embarrassing.
After playing his cards close to his vest, Alderson finally revealed his hand to Cespedes and he bit big time – 3 years, $75 million, with $27.5 million guaranteed in the first year. Cespedes also has an option to opt out after the first year if he wants, becoming a free agent all over again.
Alderson said all along that he wasn’t going to give him six years. He stood by and watched team after team leak stories and big numbers, both in years and dollars, and just kept shaking his head and basically ignoring the media and fans – all while politely answering their questions with the same response – we will do what we think is right for our ball club. Up until today, every report indicated that the Mets were still “talking”, but never even put an offer on the table.
If you’ve ever played poker, you know if you have all the cards, you never tip your hand. You never let on. You never let them see you sweat.
So is everyone happy now? I know I am. Let’s face it – just having him in the lineup is going to wreak havoc.
The scuttlebutt about Cespedes was that he was a bad influence in the clubhouse and that he sometimes dogged it in the field. Manager Terry Collins, speaking before the Mets agreed to terms said,
“He works very hard to be a good teammate. Even though he doesn’t speak a lot of English, he works very, very hard at it. His pregame routine is off the charts … off the charts. He has things that he does right before a game in the batting cage. … When he walks onto that field, he’s legit. I’ve been around a lot of great players. I’ve seen a lot of great players. This guy, just strictly tools, the five tools, he’s got them all.”
But all of these stories and rumors being reported were without anyone coming forward and putting their name behind it. On Friday afternoon, Captain David Wright came forward to the NY Daily News to set the record straight:
“I will put my name behind the statement that Yo was a good teammate on the field and a great teammate off the field. And I hope we find a way to bring him back. With that said, and I have said this before, I trust Sandy (Alderson). He took a team that was finishing last in the division and made a National champion. He deserves our trust.”
So maybe all the Mets bashing can finally come to an end. We’ve shored up our bullpen, we improved our defense, and we got our big bopper back in the lineup.
Hat’s off to our GM Sandy Alderson! Just don’t ever get into a poker game with him…
Thanks for reading!
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