Yoenis Cespedes opts out on the NY Mets

Is it worth it? 

We all experience risk and reward every day. We make decisions on “is this worth it” sometimes without even noticing.

That $5 iced coffee before work. Sure, you could skip Starbucks, and use that money somewhere else. But is it really worth starting your day without coffee? That $5 is a small price to pay.

Professional athletes experience this risk verse reward all the time, as well. The dangers of concussions and CTE in NFL players has been widely reported.

Yet players still think the reward-whether that’s money, fame, a championship, or just playing the game that they love- is worth the risk.

Several NFL players have said the risk is not worth it. From Barry Sanders to Jim Brown, many have walked away early, because the risk of continuing to play, was not worth it to them.

Professional poker players and gamblers of all sorts face this same risk verses reward. How much do I have to bet? How much can I win. If the numbers make sense, you push ahead. If they don’t, a good gambler knows another opportunity will come along soon enough.

Generally in baseball, you see the risk verse rewards all the time. A batter has the choice on whether to swing for a homer- to let it rip. Or he could be happy punching singles the opposite field.

Swinging for the home run means the risk of striking out more But chicks dig the long ball, and homers pay more than singles.

Risk verses reward

The world is going through a similar risk verses reward decision making process as we battle the Corona virus, while trying to live “normal” lives. We all decide for ourselves if going out to a restaurant right now is worth the risk.

I take the train and go to work every day, fully aware of the risks. I could catch the Corona virus just traveling back and forth to work. If I don’t work, I risk being homeless.

Risk verse reward

The Corona virus has of course affected people all over the world, and the sports world is not immune.

It delayed the start of the Major League Baseball season, and forced a shortened 60 game schedule.

Many players like Charlie Blackmon, Juan Soto, and Freedie Freemen have tested positive. Others have opted out of playing this 2020 shortened season entirely.

Major League Baseball has already had to cancel or postpone several games. New players have been testing positive almost daily.

All of this brings us to the bizarre scenario that took play over the weekend between Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes and the New York Mets.

By now, baseball fans around the country, including Mets fans know all about it. At some point over the weekend, Cespedes decides to opt out of the season- something every mlb player has the right to do. Yoenis made news by reportedly not informing the Mets team before the game on Sunday. A game he didn’t show up for.

Blame isn’t going to be assigned here. Plenty of other people have written well about that

All of the facts may never be known. It is now being reported that Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo has told people he heard Cespedes’s people informed the Mets before the game on Sunday, contradicting other reports. Again, the full story may never be known.

All that is completely known is that Cespedes opted out of this season- as is the right of all MLB players.

Why did Yoenis Cespedes opt out of the 2020 MLB season?

Cespedes was forced to restructure his contract, after an accident on his ranch

After the restructuring, and MLB prorating all contracts in this short season, Cespedes base pay was reduced to $2.2 million. To earn more, he would have to hit certain markers for plate appearances.

As the season restarted, Cespedes seemed to believe he would play almost every day. Mets managers Luis Rojas mentioned how he and Cespedes talked about the player’s role several times since the beginning of this shortened season. Cespedes also mentioned that he wanted to play left field regularly.

In the first week of the season, Cespedes was out of the lineup twice. When he was in the lineup, it was at DH, not left field.

In 8 games, Cespedes had 5 hits including 2 homeruns. His final slash line is .161/.254/.387 with an OPS of .622. His OPS+ was 33% below league average.

At the same time, the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals had their seasons suspended, due to team wide outbreaks of the Corona virus.

So, Cespedes was looking at: league wide Corona outbreaks, reduced playing time, not playing the field, and limited success to start the season after his long battle with injuries. And he was doing this for less and less money.

There are also some reports that Cespedes was concerned for his mother, who has pre-existing conditions. There is also concern for a sick member of Cespedes family.

Cespedes isn’t the first player to face these kinds of decisions. During the shut down, Major League Baseball sent proposals to the players associate to continue the season. These called for the players to take around 30% of their pro-rated contracts. Several players came out and said it wasn’t worth playing the season for that limited money.

Risk verses reward

People calculate the risk verse the reward every day. Sometimes, the risk just isn’t worth the reward.

It is pretty clear that Cespedes’s situation changed over a short period of time. This happens all the time in daily life.

For him, the risk became too great. So he decided to opt out of the season. He really can’t be blamed for that.

But, Mets fans can still be disappointed with Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes returned to the Mets lineup this season after a well documented 2 year absence because of various injuries. He returned looking trim and fit. His bat speed on opening day looked great, as he hit the eventual game winning home run.

Watching Cespedes’s at bats, it was clear he had one thing and one thing only on his mind- the long ball.

We are all for hitting the ball hard and on the air. But there were a few times in the early season where a hard hit ball to right field would have scored a run or two. And that was the furthest from Cespedes’s mind. He wanted to go deep. DEEP!

We like home runs, extra base hits, balls hit hard and in the air. We care way more about the slugging, OPS and ISO from Cespedes than we care about his batting average.

But 15 strike outs to 2 walks in 34 trips to the plate is not good. Cespedes could have helped the team- and himself- more if he just wasn’t trying to hit the ball as far as he could. This is especially true to start the season. Cespedes is also coming off that long layoff.

If he started this season being more patient, and taking what the pitchers gave him, it might have boosted his confidence, as well as managements confidence in Cespedes.

He could have helped the team score more runs. That could have led to less days off, and could show that he’s ready to play the outfield.

Cespedes never gave himself, or the Mets, that chance. That is what Mets fans should be most disappointed in with the whole situation. It is certainly what we are most disappointed in.

We just wish Cespedes gave himself a real opportunity to be successful this season. He did himself, and the Mets, a great disservice with his approach at the the plate in his limited time this season.