If we told you the New York Mets would get off to a 14-5 start this season, you might not have believed us.
If we told you that would happen despite Yoenis Cespedes barely hitting over .200, you definitely wouldn’t have believed us.
That’s where we are though. After 19 games, the Mets are an NL-best 14-5 even with Cespedes’ .208/.274/.377 battling line and league-leading 34 strikeouts.
The Mets are paying Cespedes to be a run producer, and he’s definitely done that well. He’s driven in a lot of key runs, including the winning run in Friday’s 3-2 win against Atlanta. He currently leads the team with 18 RBIs. Still, the Mets know Cespedes is capable of even better when he’s locked in. In order to get locked in though, Cespedes thinks it might be time to pick up an old hobby that probably won’t make the Mets or Mets fans too happy.
Not just golf on off days either. Though he vowed not to pick up his clubs during the season, Cespedes thinks hitting the links in the morning on gameday might be the answer to breaking his early-season slump.
“One of the things I did before when I was in a slump was playing golf, I tried to get out of my slump,” Cespedes told the media through his interpreter following Friday’s game. “I said this season, I wouldn’t go to play golf. So one of the things I am doing right now, that I didn’t do before is watching the videos. That is something I am doing different right now, but unfortunately things aren’t going so well.”
Cespedes made headlines for his golfing in 2016 when he admittedly played 18 holes hours before a lingering right quadriceps injury forced him to the disabled list. Both Cespedes and the Mets caught flack for that, with general manager Sandy Alderson calling Cespedes’ golfing “bad optics.”
Since then, the Mets came to an agreement with Cespedes’ representatives that he would give up golfing during the season. So far, Cespedes says he’s lived up to the agreement, but he’s leaving the door open to change course, so to speak.
“It wasn’t a promise, but one of the things was, I went to play golf in the morning and then I came to play baseball in the afternoon,” Cespedes said. “I stopped doing it in the offseason. But I think I’m considering playing golf again.”
Whether golf is an issue one way or the other is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that Cespedes hasn’t looked or felt comfortable at the plate so far this season. The dismal batting average backs that up.
“I’m still lost,” Cespedes says of his baseball swing. “Now I’m opening my shoulder wide open. When I was playing golf, I had to keep my hands inside. It helped me a lot.”
Whether Cespedes follows through on hitting the links again is another story. If the Mets want Cespedes back to full capacity though, making a concession here might not be the worst idea. Even if it only really serves to ease Cespedes’ mind, it might be worth it.
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