Palladino: Cespedes Is The Logical Player To Move

Health, Production And No-Trade Clause Could Present Issues

Ernie Palladino
June 20, 2018 - 12:50 pm
Mets slugger Yoenis Cespedes

USA TODAY Images

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As with anything New York Mets related, nothing comes as easy as it should.

The current need is to restock a failing farm system with a handful of decent prospects. To do that, Sandy Alderson must ship out a talent worthy of getting that kind of return.

The problem, however, is who?

Well, that person currently sits on the DL with a strained hip flexor, and his name is Yoenis Cespedes. And despite obstacles standing in his way like speed bumps in a school zone, he’s a logical choice to move.

Quite simply, Alderson would be crazy to send off Jacob deGrom, a Cy Young candidate who shockingly received 12 runs of support from a Mets offense, while hurling a gem Monday night in the Rockies’ hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Forget the fact that he’s under contract control until 2021. Getting rid of deGrom and his league-low 1.51 ERA would be a big no-no, followed closely by launching No. 2 guy Noah Syndergaard.

Jay Bruce has done little to warrant a quality yield, especially now since he was just placed on the 10-day DL Tuesday. Asdrubal Cabrera is way too valuable with the bat and on defense. And Brandon Nimmo, the ringleader of the mini-resurgence, who had a game-winning home run Sunday and a leadoff inside-the-park job Monday, followed by a seventh-inning take-charge blast, has another five years before he’s free-agent eligible. That means the Mets get all that kid-like enthusiasm and production for potentially a long time at sub-market prices, even after arbitration. 

>>MORE: Schwei's Mets Notes: Nimmo's Success, Home Runs, Callaway's Ejection

But Cespedes? He might just entice an AL contender into a major trade. There, they could take him out of the outfield and stick him in at DH, thus reducing the wear and tear on a hip that has kept him on the DL for more than a month, with no end in sight.

That scenario would carry an initial contingency of getting him healthy and somewhat productive well before the July 31 trade deadline. Probably easier said than done, but at least he still has some time to escape physical therapy and resume his minor-league rehab.

After that, he must return and prove he can stay on the field for an extended period.

Those are just first steps, though. There’s also the little matter of a total no-trade clause embedded in his contract. He’d have to agree to a limited alteration first before any trade talks could happen.

One wonders, though, how difficult a sell that would represent. He’s been in the AL before with Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers.

Granted, he wasn’t a mainstay at DH, playing 69 of his 83 games there over his first three major league seasons in Oakland. But it’s not unfamiliar territory for him, either.

Besides, the thought of extending his career through what could become a chronic problem might serve as an attraction rather than a comedown. Then there’s the money. He won’t lose a nickle. But the Mets would probably have to eat a lot of the $58.5 million they’ll owe him over the next two years. The Wilpons had to swallow hard to re-sign him as a free agent after he sparked their team to that magical World Series run after the 2015 deadline. Imagine them having to munch on a big part of the remainder for a player who no longer plays for them.

Stomach acid pills, anybody?

But sometimes management has to do what they have to do. If this current turnaround indeed turns their shipwreck upward, then perhaps the urgency to become deadline sellers will cease. More likely, however, this is just a temporary uptick, and the Mets will open for business in a big way.

It then becomes a question of who goes and who stays. If they can get Cespedes right again, he may draw a big crowd.

Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino