You wonder what Yoenis Cespedes was thinking even when he was thinking it. Whether he was waxing poetic or feeling nostalgic, Cespedes didn’t do his current his current manager or his current team any favors by saying he wanted to finish his career in Oakland.
Before the Mets’ 7-5 win Friday night, Cespedes told the San Francisco Chronicle he wanted to end his career with the A’s, the team he began his major-league career with in 2012.
“I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland,” Cespedes was quoted as saying.
That might go over well in Oakland, but in Queens it amounts to kicking a team when it’s down, and if that wasn’t bad enough, his praise of A’s manager Bob Melvin came off as a slap at Mets skipper Terry Collins.
“He’s the best manager for me so far,” Cespedes told the Chronicle about Melvin.
After the Mets claimed their third straight win, Cespedes tried to clarify his pregame statements, insisting his bromance with Melvin wasn’t a dig at Collins even though it sounded like it was.
“That does not mean that I do not have a great relationship with Terry, that we do not get along and I don’t respect him,” Cespedes said after collecting three hits and scoring a run in the Mets win at Citi Field.
Look, who knows how Cespedes will feel next year or next week.
He seems committed to the Mets for now and played with plenty of focus and determination Friday night. But the Mets are entering a fragile part of the season where every comment, especially those viewed as critical of the team, will be magnified. Collins is already in a tenuous position trying to guide a team with no postseason hopes through the final two months of the season without any guarantees he’ll return next year.
Cespedes’ comments can’t be viewed as an endorsement, even if he insists he and Collins have a good relationship.
Collins said he hadn’t heard of Cespedes’ pregame comments, and tried to shrug it off by agreeing that Melvin is a “great” manager. Still it was clear he was taken off guard.
“I know nothing about it,” Collins said.
The Mets have won three straight games at a time when their playoff hopes are ruined. It’s about setting the tone for the future and Cespedes is important to that future.
He is in the first-year of a four-year contract that will pay him $110 million. The Mets have treated him well in every respect and he’s already spent about as much time in a Mets uniform as he did with the A’s.
This is hardly the time to talk about playing for another team whether it’s tomorrow or at the end of a career.
Cespedes insisted he remains loyal to the Mets.
“This is my home,” he said. “This is my team. I love those fans.”
If that’s the case then act like it. Mets fans don’t want to hear their star playing fantasizing about playing somewhere other than Flushing. Michael Conforto hit two home runs Friday night and the bullpen held up to collect the win. It was a good night at Citi Field until Cespedes’ comments hit the internet.
It’s another pot hole in what already has been a difficult enough season with injuries and loses sabotaging what looked to be another playoff run.
General manager Sandy Alderson has to begin the process of unloading contracts and getting something for impending free agents. It’s the prudent move for a team with plenty of needs.
Cespedes isn’t going anywhere right now, though you have to wonder how long he will stay committed to the Mets.
“This is my home, this is my team. Nothing has changed,” Cespedes kept saying through an interpreter.
Somehow it feels like it has.