Will Yoenis Cespedes be back with the Mets next season? The speculation went into full throttle after the Mets 3-0 loss to the Giants Wednesday in the National League wild-card game.
The disappointing end for the Mets appeared to a crushing one for Cespedes. He hugged Jeff Wilpon and shook hands with Sandy Alderson, then sent word through his translator that he would not be conducting any interviews.
No one excelled against Madison Bumgarner, but Cespedes’ failing was glaring as he went 0-for-4. He struck out twice — looking fooled each time — after Asdrubal Cabrera had reached base, on a single in the fourth and a walk in the sixth. In a scoreless game at the time, the air of anticipation was deflated by the team’s highest paid player at $27.5 million. He had signed a three-year, $75 million deal with an opportunity to opt out after this season. At 31, he likely will seek more money.
Cespedes had finished the regular season hitting .280 with 31 home runs and 86 runs batted in. He played in 132 games as a nagging quad injury hung on for most of the second half. In the last 18 games of the regular season, he hit .218 with one homer and eight runs batted in.
Terry Collins had hoped Cespedes would “flick” the switch back on in the postseason. Collins lauded Bumgarner, “but this guy’s one great talent,’’ he said of Cespedes. “I just thought we needed him tonight. We needed him bad and I thought] that he was ready for it. He was all fired up, and as you know, the old adage, good pitching beats good hitting and tonight [Bumgarner] was better.’’
Cespedes’ teammates seem solidly in favor of him returning. “I think it’s important,’’ Jose Reyes said. “The chemistry we built in not too much time. That was unbelievable. Good to see. I don’t know what the future holds for me and what Cespey is going to do but I wish I’m back here and him, too. We talk. I don’t know, he didn’t know yet. So I tell him to come back here.’’
As for Cespedes failing in the clutch, Reyes said, “It’s no easy game. We’ll see what happens. We just lost a game today. It’s hard to think about what’s going to happen later on. I feel like he’s a New York player. He can perform here at a high level. So that’s what you want from your star player.”
Rene Rivera added, “He played hurt for a couple of months that’s what you want in players. You want players that care about your team. Cespedes cares about us, he tried to do his best but sometimes you’re going to fail. I enjoyed playing with him this year. Great person, great teammate. If I’m here and he’s here I’ll be happy.’’
Cabrera said Cespedes should not be blamed for the loss. “You know how tough this game is? It’s really tough. We faced one of the best pitchers in the league. I think that was the key in the game. This game is not easy. If it was, everybody could play this game. We’re on the highest level.
I don’t know, I hope he’s coming back. He’s the guy we need on this team.’’
Losing pitcher Jeurys Familia said Cespedes “makes it easy for everybody in this room. He is one of those guys every time he plays the lineup is better. He plays 100 percent, it doesn’t matter if he is sore. If he can play, he plays. Yeah, I think he’ll be back. I don’t know what he wants to do because he has his agent. But I think he’ll be back because he loves to play here. He loves this team, too.’’