It’s no secret that Yoenis Céspedes loves golf. He has openly talked about pursuing a career in it after baseball comes to an end, and he made headlines with every round he played last season. But he’s leaving the links behind, at least for now, as he focuses of returning to MVP form.
Céspedes confirmed a report Mike Francesa relayed to WOR from earlier this month to the NY Post's Mike Puma that, in an effort to stay on the field, he will not play golf during the season.
That was so much fun! Still on a high. What a thrill that was. Lots to take from my time w Mike, including the Mets news he broke: no golf for Cespedes this year.— Sal Licata (@sal_licata) February 14, 2018
Cespedes says he hasn't played golf since July. Says he misses it "sometimes" but no plans to resume during the season.— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) February 22, 2018
To me, Yo’s time spent on the course has been completely blown out of proportion. It only became an issue because Yo had an injury-plagued year. There is no doubt in my mind that absolutely no one would care about Yo playing golf seven days a week if he plays 150+ games, and continues to produce at a MVP-caliber level.
But I get it. He didn’t. Legs issues that have hampered him the last two seasons, so he can’t be spotted on the course strutting around if he isn’t healthy enough to be on the field at night. That should be the rule of thumb as far as I’m concerned. How about just renting a cart to prevent any questions regarding your legs? Seems like a fair compromise to me.
But hey, I won’t turn my nose up at Yo from eating, sleeping, and breathing baseball from March-to-November.
We all know Yo was a valuable part of the playoff teams in ’15 and ’16, but I think his injuries have made us overlook just how valuable he really was. The lineups were dead in the water over that year-and-a-half stretch, and last season was no different.
I'm not saying he could have salvaged 2017 alone. No one man was capable of doing that. But it certainly would’ve been a significant difference with Yo in the lineup every day. He batted .292/.352/.540 with 17 home runs and 42 RBI in just 81 games, and he was playing hurt through much of that.
In order for the Mets to contend, Céspedes needs to be “the man” on this team. The pitching is certainly going to be the Mets’ strength, but remember that the Mets were a .500 team with a dominant pitching staff and zero offense before Yo arrived in '15. There’s just something about his bat in the middle of the lineup every day when he’s going right that ignites the team (and us fans) like no pitcher is capable of. Dare I say there’s a little bit of Piazza in him with his flare for the dramatic?
If Yo’s really serious about giving up golf, that tells me he’s laser focused on being “the man” for a full season in 2018. So I'm happy the only drives he’s going to be hitting for the next eight months are over the centerfield apple.
But after the World Series parade, I can find a spot for you in my golf foursome any day, Yo!
Photo credits: Alejandra Villa | Newsday
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire