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Yoenis Cespedes Signing Makes Mets Lineup One Of The Best In The National League




Earlier in the week, I began writing a piece about how the New York Mets needed to sign Yoenis Cespedes at all costs. This offseason saw the Metropolitans add good pieces to an already good team trading for Neil Walker and signing Asdrubal Cabrera and Antonio Bastardo. However the Mets were still missing that major bat in their lineup, a bat that would instill fear into National League pitchers. That bat, as seen in the last two months of the 2015 season, was Yoenis Cespedes.

On Friday night the wish of all Met fans came true when the Mets signed Cespedes to a 3-year, $75 million contract. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and another wrinkle that is somewhat surprising…Cespedes could opt-out of the deal after the 2016 season and take home $27.5 million if he decides to retest the free agent market after the season. That means that 2016 could be an all-in year for the Mets and another “contract year” for Cespedes, where his worth could jump if he produces to his potential.

Without thinking about the potential departure of Cespedes, the 2016 New York Mets have the makings of being a better team this season than last season when they won the NL pennant. Everyone talks about the pitching, which lost Jon Niese but has Steven Matz beginning his first full season in the majors and a returning Zack Wheeler to add to either rotation or the bullpen during the summer months. But while the pitching gets all the press, it seems as if the Met offense could be the sleeper aspect of the team. Here is what the projected Mets lineup cold look like according to

  1. Curtis Granderson, LF
  2. Neil Walker, 2B
  3. David Wright, 3B
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF
  5. Lucas Duda, 1B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  7. Michael Conforto, LF
  8. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS

That lineup, even with David Wright’s health and the amount of games he will play unknown, still has the opportunity to run through the National League. There are weaknesses with Duda still struggling against left-handed pitching and Conforto still learning big league pitching. But even with those possible roadblocks the Met bench has versatility with Wilmer Flores moving into the Daniel Murphy role as utility infielder, the recently signed Alejandro de Aza as another bat and Juan Lagares being able to spell Cespedes when need be.

The fact that the Mets lineup is as strong as it looks is all due to the signing of Cespedes. Without him, Lagares would have been the starting center fielder and while he has the glove to start, his bat is hot or cold with his hitting completely disappearing last season. There were flashes, especially during the NLCS and the World Series but it was not enough to warrant a starting job for Lagares even though he is being paid like a starting center fielder.

The tools that Yoenis Cespedes brings to the Mets are bigger than his bat. Yes he has power and major gap ability but add his speed and his defensive ability to the equation. His arm in the outfield is something that saves runs as teams are not ready to risk a run on a single with a runner at second base. That’s the difference between a young pitcher liker Matz or Noah Syndergaard from having a quality start or giving up five runs. While Cespedes is not as effective in center field (-17 defensive runs saved), he has 32 defensive runs saved in left field according to Baseball Reference, which could mean a little more time in left than center this season.

The Wilpons will not fully get rid of the “cheap” label for the rest of the time they own the Mets. But with the signing of Cespedes, some credit must go to them for giving Sandy Alderson the flexibility to make this offer. It is a lot of money to kick out but it’s for a player that is in the prime of his career who is a game changer. It did help that Michael Cuddyer retired which freed up some money so that credit has to be limited just a bit but it does show that Mets ownership are beginning to get the message. Mets fans want a consistent winner and not a successful team one year and an average team the next five seasons. With the farm system saturated with players who have great potential, this could be the beginning of a golden age for the Mets…as long as management doesn’t screw it up.

The signing of Yoenis Cespedes is a damn good start.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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