The Mets got a real live hit with runners in scoring position on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, but they still failed to score a run and lost to the Braves 4-0. David Peterson had another encouraging performance with eight strikeout and a walk in six innings with three runs allowed, but that wasn’t good enough with New York going 1-for-15 with RISP.
The tone was set right off the bat as the Mets loaded the bases with one out (of course, slumping Pete Alonso was the one out) in the top of the first, only for Robinson Cano to do what he does best and ground into a double play. The defining play of the game, though, came in the sixth when J.D. Davis led off with a double. One out later, Amed Rosario hit a hard ground ball to the left side that Dansby Swanson fielded deep in the hole. Davis advanced to third and Rosario had himself a hit. It was the only hit with RISP for the Mets on the day, but it didn’t even score a run! Classic.
However, the big story of the day didn’t take place on the diamond. That’s because Yoenis Cespedes didn’t show up at the ballpark on Sunday morning. Instead, he mysteriously vanished, leaving some to wonder if he was in mortal danger.
I thought it might be more than coincidence for the star slugger to go AWOL the morning he was left out of the starting lineup. It turns out, Cespedes’s disappearance might have had more to do with playing time than him being abducted or whatever the worriers thought had happened to him.
But multiple sources confirmed that twice in the first nine games of the season, Cespedes confronted Mets officials concerned about playing time and that he would be kept out of lineups to prevent him from reaching lucrative performance bonuses. One of those came Saturday, when Cespedes first talked to Luis Rojas and then Brodie Van Wagenen about his playing status and bonuses. Then Cespedes knew before the buses left for Truist Park on Sunday he was not in the starting lineup and he never showed for the game against the Braves, triggering a bizarre day even for the Mets.
When we found out that Cespedes was not in danger and that he was just opting out of the 2020 season, some fans called him out for abandoning his team. Due to the timing of him leaving, I believe that Cespedes decided it wasn’t worth playing out the season when he found out it would be difficult to reach some of his performance bonuses.
Cespedes is a man of mystery, though, and claiming to know his exact motives or what he is thinking is a futile endeavor. It’s important to note that there are other reasons for Cespedes to opt out, including the health of his family.
A source told The Athletic that Céspedes’ mother, who is in the United States, is ill, and his calculations for playing this season had changed given the outbreaks with other teams.
Twitter is polarizing, of course. Every person thinks that Cespedes either opted out only because of the money or only because of his concerns with how MLB was handling the pandemic. There is now at least one person thinking that the Mets trading for Billy Hamilton on Sunday morning means that they knew Cespedes was leaving and lied about not knowing where he was.
I would like to remind this person that Cespedes isn’t even an outfielder anymore and that his and Hamilton’s skill sets don’t line up in the slightest. Could be true, though! The Mets’ ownership has done horrible things in the past and shouldn’t be absolved for not knowing that one of its star players was seriously thinking about opting out.
Thinking logically makes you a bootlicker these days, though.
The Mets for sure would have been better off waiting until they knew Cespedes was safe before announcing his was missing, but it’s not the worst thing in the world to shame a guy when what he did was a little shameful. He just packed his bags and left without telling even Luis Rojas.
On the baseball field, Cespedes’s absence shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the Mets as they try to get their season back on track. La Potencia wasn’t playing defense and the Mets already have a DH ready with take his place in Dominic Smith. This should make managing the daily lineup easier on Rojas and get Smith more consistent at-bats without having to play him in left field.
And maybe, just maybe not having a disgruntled veteran in the clubhouse will help raise team morale. The Mets can end their five-game winning streak tonight when Jacob deGrom toes the rubber tonight in Atlanta opposite Mike Soroka