The New York Mets have some good news on the injury front, highlighted by the possible return of Yoenis Cespedes.

As the New York Mets get set to come together and prepare for a shortened 2020 season, they’ve gotten some good news on the injury front. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is closer to game ready than he was in March.

Cespedes had surgery to remove calcification from his heels in 2018, then he broke his right ankle in a bizarre incident with a wild boar at his ranch in Florida in February of 2019. He missed all of last season as a result, after playing just 38 games during the 2018 campaign. He also missed significant time in 2017 (81 games played), as a right hamstring injury ended his season early.

The universal DH for this season looks like a great fit to get (and keep) Cespedes’ bat in the lineup. But the Mets have some options there (Dominic Smith, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Jed Lowrie), and Van Wagenen pointed to not necessarily having a full-time DH.

In his one full healthy season with the Mets (2016), Cespedes posted a .280/.354/.530 slash-line with 31 home runs and 86 RBI over 132 games (543 plate appearances). He was an NL All-Star that year, as he won a Silver Slugger and got some down-ballot MVP votes. But now, at 34 years old with all the lower body ailments he’s had, it’s impossible to know if that kind of production is still in him. And if it is, can he stay healthy long enough to even show it?

In any case, the delay in the start of the season is lined up to help the Mets have a full complement of healthy players (Conforto and Lowrie notably included). But if they are going to be a serious contender during the 60-game sprint, Cespedes is their most important player this side of Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso.

 

 

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