Yo is in camp and he brought a giant chip on his shoulder with him. Upon arrival, Yoenis Cespedes made it clear he would not be speaking with the media not only throughout Spring Training but the whole season. Well, that notion lasted only a few days.
Cespedes fielded a few questions with an interpreter on Sunday. He kept his answers short and has made it clear that whatever happened in the past is something he's keeping in the past. Don't expect to read a tell-all Wild Boar story anytime soon. He deferred to his interpreter for all but one question: "On a scale of 1-10, how motivated are you to perform this season."
"12," Cespedes said without hesitation. He didn't even give his interpreter a chance to chime in on this one. No need. Yo understood the question and Yo made sure everyone understood that the Yo of old is back. He's playing with a purpose this season.
How motivated is Yoenis Cespedes, on a scale of 1-10?— SNY (@SNYtv) February 23, 2020
The best move the Mets made this offseason might have been the restructuring of Cespedes' deal. If Yo wants to earn every penny he originally signed for, he's going to have to be on the field to earn it. There's no greater motivator than cold, hard cash. I don't care how many zeros are in your bank account, everyone wants more, especially when some of that has been taken from you.
Yo worked his way out of poverty to earn north of $100M in his career. It has to be hard for someone like that to accept seeing money disappear. Now it's time to take some back.
As much as I would love to see Cespedes on the field for Opening Day, that might be Cespedes pushing himself just for the sake of getting that bonus money. Hell, I don't blame him. I'd probably have that same mentality. In reality, I'd like to not see Yo rushed back. When he's ready, he's ready. And if we're being honest, who really knows if management will let him come back unless he's 110% proven he's ready considering the money he would be owed. That's just a reality.
One thing I do not doubt is that we're not just getting the return of Yo, we're getting the return of '15 Yo. Whenever Cespedes is on the field, he's going to be playing with the same motivation as the guy who put the team on his back and carried them to a postseason berth. There's a swag and "it" factor about Yo that's a rarity in this world. When he's right, Cespedes is one of the most exciting hitters in baseball to watch. We'll be reminded of that once again in the near future.
I'm drooling at just the thought of a lineup that includes Cespedes, Conforto, McNeil and Alonso together. "12" would be my excitement level of any game those guys are penciled in together. I don't need to hear Cespedes say another word this season. Let your bat do the talking, Yo.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.