In a since-deleted Instagram video posted by minor-league Mets coach (and long-time former big leaguer) Endy Chavez, rehabbing slugger Yoenis Cespedes is shown taking batting practice. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo covered things via Twitter.
While this fleeting glance at Cespedes doesn’t really tell us much, it’s the first meaningful look at his progress in quite some time. Serious heel and other leg injuries cost Cespedes huge chunks of the 2017-18 campaigns and all of 2019. All told, he has played in just 119 games since the close of his strong 2016 season.
Cespedes has continued to hit when available, and he’s still being paid quite handsomely for one more season ($29.5MM), so the club has an obvious interest in getting him back on the field. At times it seemed a late-2019 return might have been possible, but there was never anything close to a run-up towards the majors.
GM Brodie Van Wagenen seemingly downplayed the likelihood of a significant contribution in 2020 when he addressed the matter recently, saying that lacks “enough information to predict when [Cespedes is] going to be back.” Of course, there is one other way to read that. The Mets understandably don’t want to set expectations and surely also would like to keep things quiet when it comes to negotiating with rivals and free agents.
All of that is to say: if indeed Cespedes is presently capable of swinging the stick, even if in a limited BP setting, that seems to be good and rather notable news. As I noted in discussing the Mets’ offseason outlook earlier today, the complexion of the outfield could look quite a bit different if Cespedes is part of the picture — especially if he can show enough to be relied upon right out of Spring Training. It’s not hard at all to imagine rather significant impacts on the team’s offseason maneuvering based upon the status of Cespedes, though certainly the organization will need to be wary of presuming too much about his health.