Thursday, February 4, 2016

It could be worse. We could have signed Yoenis Cespedes with an opt-out clause

Yesterday - in this Yankee winter where Christmas never came - the lowly, miserly, forever hapless Mets unleashed the Elvis-riding-on-an-elephant spectacle of their newest re-aquisition, the streak/slump machine whom I like to think of as Humanis Centepedes.

If you imagine Alfonso Soriano times Andruw Jones, (the 35-year-old versions), with a sprinkle of Ruben Rivera's uncapped potential, and have him smoke a Cuban cigar, you've got Yoenis Cespedes. I don't mean to bash the guy, because he did help lead the Mets' post-season drive for a month last summer... but of all the free agents we didn't chase this winter - which is all the free agents in baseball - Cespedes is the one I'm most thankful didn't come our way.

Listen: When a guy bounces around from four teams in two years, there's a reason for the game of hot-potato. It has to do with seeing the player up close. When hot, Cespedes can carry the team. When cold, he leaves the population of mainland China in scoring position. And if for some reason he explodes, has the year of his life, then Met fans can watch him break their hearts. He has a one-year opt-out clause - the new reality of baseball - and it's a lose-lose proposition for any team that's willing to sign away its management capability.

Isn't fate amazing? Fate, and its brother, hubris?

If you look at U.S. presidential politics, the Republicans figured to have a cakewalk of money, after the Supreme Court eliminated donation restrictions for rich candidates. But instead of streamlining the system, the new rules allow extremist candidates to stay in the race forever, backed by a billionaire, and gum up the party machinery. It's the same in baseball, where the owners instituted a de facto salary cap, via luxury taxes, to defang big market teams like the Yankees. So what happens? The players and agents start writing in opt-out clauses, basically eliminating the long-term tie to any team.

Come 2017, when Food Stamps Steinbrenner ventures back into the free agent market, will all our acquisitions be one year opt-outs? Could be.

What bothers me this winter is a sense that the Yankees themselves waived their big market advantage - which included, I believe, the most loyal and ardent fan base in American sports. Cespedes wanted to play in NYC. So could have others - like David Price or Zach Greinke. Not long ago, it was assumed that the Yankees always make the playoffs. Now, it's assumed they will always try to make the playoffs. If a couple unlucky injuries happen this summer, we could see a Boston-like meltdown. It could have been averted. But we sat out the auctions.

Well, at least we didn't sign Cespedes, a round peg for the big square hole in our lineup. We are team of elderly statesmen and low-price trade aquisitions, every one of them flawed in some way or another.  (Chapman has his domestic abuse, Hicks was a disappointment in Minnesota, Castro had worn out his welcome in Chicago, etc.) But at least we don't face any opt-out clauses. Good for us, I guess. Right?

6 comments:

John M said...

The very lowest-odds outcome for the year is that our wacky, against-all-odds combo of kids and has-beens goes on a tear and overcomes every adversity. Everybody plays at their peak performance level, when the old guys go down, the young guys step up. And the front office is hit by a meteor so no one is left alive to screw it up.

Ahhh, that would be something....

Tom said...

Yankees have already bungled opt-out clauses, setting the standard for how not to do it: A-Rod and CC.

And A-Rod got such a sweet deal, he's going to show up this year and next even if he has to use a walker to get to the stadium. And when he may turn into an automatic out -- double plays and strikeouts -- but Girardi is going to trundle him out there because he's getting paid.

Maybe, just maybe, quiet negotiations and a buyout convince A-Rod to stay home sometime after May of next year. No sooner than that, though.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE ABOUT THE ONE YEAR OPT-OUT NOT BEING GOOD IN THE LONG RUN FOR THE METS.....BUT....I WAS DYING TO SEE THEM STRUGGLE TO WIN WITH THE LINEUP THEY HAD WITHOUT DANIEL MURPHY AND CESPEDES (EVEN IN THAT PUTRID DIVISION AND WITH ALL THOSE "STUD" PITCHERS).....I BET WASHINGTON WOULD HAVE BEAT THEM OUT........BUT UNLIKE THE YANKEE BRASS WHO DIDN'T GIVE US WHAT WE NEEDED MOST, THE MET BRASS HEARD THE WILD OUTCRY FROM MET FANS..... THEY WERE LIVID ABOUT LETTING THEIR BEST 2 HITTERS GO..... AND ALTHOUGH THEY WERE DYING TO LET HIM GO, THE CHEAPO METS SIGNED THE ONE GUY WHO WILL PROBABLY PUT THEM OVER THE TOP IN 2016...... IT MAY NOT BE AS DUMB A DEAL AS IT LOOKS FOR THE METS....REMEMBER, THEY REALLY DIDN'T WANT TO KEEP HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE, BUT IT KIND OF GUARANTEES HE GOES "BALLS OUT" AGAIN FOR A FULL SEASON... ..IF HE DOES GREAT, HE WILL BE GONE, BUT THE METS WILL SAVE $50 MILLION THEY OWED HIM, AND THEY WILL HAVE RECEIVED A BIG YEAR FROM HIM IN THE PROCESS......THE PROBLEM FOR THE METS IS IF HE TANKS..... LETS HOPE HE TANKS, BECAUSE THEY WON'T SIGN ANYONE ELSE WITH HIM MAKING $25 MILL A YEAR...... PERSONALLY, I THINK CESPEDES IS INSANE FOR WALKING AWAY FROM THE WASHINGTON OFFER WHICH WAS $30 MILLION DOLLARS MORE (BUT OVER 5 YEARS).....HE'S NUTS.....HE'S ONLY GETTING OLDER, AND EVEN AFTER A SOLID 2015 SEASON, NOBODY REALLY WANTED HIM.

Alphonso said...

If the Yankees had signed him, he would have a torn labrum by now.

joe disgusted pastry said...

At least the mets are trying.

I'm Bill White said...

I think player opt-out is good. I believe that Erik Estrada once said accountability is a two way street.