With Yoenis Cespedes set to miss some portion of next season as he recovers from two heel surgeries, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon admitted on Sunday that the team will have to plan as if he won’t play in 2019 (via Tim Healey of Newsday). “You probably do have to plan that way, given the fact that it’s uncertain,” Wilpon said of Cespedes, who will enter the penultimate season of a four-year, $110MM contract in 2019. Fortunately for the Mets, it appears they have at least two starting-caliber corner outfielders on hand in 2018 breakout star Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, and their presences should make Cespedes’ absence less noticeable for however much time he misses next year.
Here’s more from New York and one other East Coast city:
- The re-signing of Cespedes in 2016 has been the Mets’ biggest free-agent splash in recent years, but Wilpon suggested that hasn’t been because of an unwillingness to spend on the team’s part; rather, it was outgoing general manager Sandy Alderson recommendation that the club avoid high-priced free agents, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Mets fans don’t seem to buy it, though, as the responses to Puma’s tweet indicate.
- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez has come under fire for his difficulty with blocking pitches – he was the majors’ third-worst catcher in that department during the regular season, according to Baseball Prospectus – but general manager Brian Cashman isn’t overly concerned about that aspect of his game. “Believe it or not, that falls down (the list) compared to the other things he brings to the table, including his bat,” Cashman told NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty, who goes into detail about Sanchez’s subpar regular season. After establishing himself as an elite offensive catcher from 2016-17, his first two seasons, Sanchez fell flat during an injury-shortened year with a .186/.291/.406 line in 374 plate appearances. The 25-year-old continued to provide considerable power, though, evidenced by his 18 home runs and .220 isolated slugging mark, and may have deserved better production in general. Not only did Sanchez post a .220 batting average on balls in play, down from .308 over the previous two years, but he logged a .357 expected weighted on-base average – up 53 points from his .304 wOBA (per Statcast). And for all the handwringing over his defense, Sanchez actually earned a positive overall mark from BP.
- From a statistical standpoint, Braves utilityman Ryan Flaherty had a less-than-stellar 2018, though he told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick over the weekend that he’s interested in continuing his playing career next season. The 32-year-old also added that he has already thought about his next chapter in baseball, which could include working as a coach, manager or in a front office role, Crasnick relays. Flaherty’s fluent in Spanish, which is an obvious plus, and his father, Ed, has been eminently successful as the manager at Division III Southern Maine. Of course, those factors alone don’t mean Ryan Flaherty’s qualified to coach, but Braves skipper Brian Snitker believes he’s cut out for such a role. “I think he’d be a great coach or manager,’’ Snitker told Crasnick. “He has a good feel for the game. He knows the game. He’s a baseball guy, and he loves everything about it. I think it would be awesome if he stayed in the game. The game needs people like that.”