However, if you dig deep into it, this may not actually be where this all started.
Theory 1: Cespedes is Done With the Bullpen
There’s no debate, the New York Mets got off to a solid start in game-one of this shortened season. Especially Yoenis Cespedes, who accounted for the Mets only run in a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves. However, after getting out to a 1-0 start, the Mets have gone an ice cold 2-7 since. A big part of that has been the Mets bullpen. Three of the big off-season pitching acquisitions for Brodie Van Wagenen, Dellin Betances, Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello, have a combined 11.64 ERA.
The First Bullpen Blowup
The first lead the Mets bullpen blew, came in game-two of the season. The Mets were up 2-1. Marcell Ozuna was the Braves last chance, as there were two outs in the top of the ninth. After working the count full, Ozuna took Edwin Diaz‘s payoff pitch deep to right field, tying the game at two. The Mets weren’t able to score in the bottom of the inning so the game headed to extras.
With the new extra-innings rule, Adam Duvall was placed at second to begin the inning. Dansby Swanson, wasting no time, drove him in giving the Braves a 3-2 lead. After Ender Inciarte and William Contreras each drove in another run, the Braves were up 5-2 going to the bottom of the tenth. The Mets got one run, but that was all they could manage, falling to the Braves 5-3 after being up 2-1 in the ninth.
The Worst Bullpen Blowup (So Far)
The worst of them all, however, came Saturday. The Mets entered the eighth inning up 10-6 against the Braves, once again. Dellin Betances gave up a single and a walk before getting the first out of the inning, a Ronald Acuna Jr. strikeout. After the first out, Betances gave up another single, stolen base, walk and a run on a wild pitch. Betances gave up two runs before the Mets turned to Seth Lugo, hoping he would end the inning. Instead, Lugo gave up a walk and a three RBI double to none other that former Met, Travis d’Arnaud. When all was said and done, Betances gave up four runs on two hits while Lugo, who got the loss, gave up one run on one hit.
Games like those have driven Mets’ fans crazy for years. It wouldn’t be shocking if players feel the same way. It’s possible that this could have just been the last straw in Cespedes wanting out of New York.
There also could have been something else that pushed Cespedes over the edge.
Theory 2: Cespedes was Offended by the Hamilton Trade
This is where the conspiracy theory part gets going. Let’s just say that after the game on Saturday, Cespedes was just fed up with the team. Cespedes goes to Brodie Van Wagenen’s office and informs him that he was seriously considering opting out of the 2020 season. Van Wagenen, taken back by this news, starts panicking. He immediately starts making phone call after phone call trying to find a replacement in case Cespedes indeed opts-out.
Finally, Van Wagenen reaches an agreement with Scott Harris, General Manager of the San Francisco Giants. Harris was willing to give Van Wagenen and the Mets the replacement they were looking for. They agree to send OF speed-demon Billy Hamilton to New York in exchange for RHP Jordan Humphreys.
Once Cespedes caught a whiff of this, just about an hour before game time, he decided that was it. Cespedes promptly packed all his belongings and got on the quickest flight out of Atlanta.
Theory 3: Cespedes is Retiring
Lastly and possibly craziest, maybe Yoenis Cespedes is done with baseball in general. Cespedes has a son, Yoenis Cespedes Jr. who still lives in Cuba. Cespedes has gotten his fair amount of money and may just be ready to call it quits. Not being able to see your son for months at a time is not enjoyable for anyone.
The only question around this one, would be why did Cespedes wait until the second week of the season to officially opt-out? Though the trade for Billy Hamilton could also answer this question.
Maybe, before the season started, Cespedes told Van Wagenen he didn’t want to play this season. Van Wagenen tried to persuade Cespedes to stay. but was initally unsuccessful. Cespedes agrees to stay with the team until the Mets can find his replacement, hence the trade for Billy Hamilton.
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