By: Jordan Silver

The New Mets Superhero

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In his May 2013 profile of Mets’ ace Matt Harvey, SI writer and Fox Sports commentator, Tom Verducci, dubbed him “The Dark Knight”. The Mets latched onto that moniker by guiding give-away nights to include shirts that followed that theme. Clearly based on the vehicles that slugger Yoenis Cespedes has driven to Port St. Lucie workouts, he is now Batman.

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Not since Reggie Jackson brought his talents to New York in 1977 has this market seen this type of oversized ego. Not Bobby Bonilla, Mike Piazza or even A-Rod. The question is: can he back up the bravado with on-the-field results?

Last season the Mets fortunes improved with the trade deadline deal that brought number 52 to Citifield. Combine his arrival with the acquisitions of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson along with David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud coming off the disabled list (as well as the emergence of Michael Conforto) and the Mets were loaded for bear in their playoff run.

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Anchoring a moribund offense in the final six weeks of the season he put up a .287 batting average along with seventeen home runs and forty-four RBIs. Spread over a full season you can expand those numbers to approximately forty home runs and 120 RBIs. The fact is that, to steal Reggie’s line, he was the straw that stirred the drink. And while he did have a very unimpressive post-season, at the plate and in the field, it was clear that his arrival was just what the cadre of young starting pitchers needed. The Mets led the majors with 45 games (28%) that ended with a one run difference. When your pitching staff only has an ERA of 3.43, the margin for error is razor thin. Clearly the top of the order prospered with Cespedes in the lineup as they saw many more pitches in order to avoid the dangerous middle of the order threat.

For years Mets fans have lamented that despite a brand new state of the art stadium and a regional sports network they were run like a small market team. When looking at that team in the Bronx, it’s hard not to feel like the forgotten little brother. This was exemplified during off-seasons when that other borough was the preferred destination for many free agents. Free agents knew that they would see large contracts (Jacoby Ellsbury) and, in most cases, have it translate to on-the-field success. If they don’t succeed, the team is very willing to eat the remainder of the contract and allow the player to simply walk.

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Did the Mets overpay for Cespedes? When you look at his individual season average of $25 million, the answer may be yes. However, when you consider that it’s only a three year contract and he has an opt-out after one season (which he’d be stupid not to take advantage of no matter his stats at season’s end), it’s very team-friendly. The Mets were certainly collateral damage in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme and therefore refused to do the same sort of shopping sprees a la Carlos Beltran and Mike Piazza (not to mention the ill-fated 2002 acquisitions of Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Bernitz and Roberto Alomar). Still, Cespedes is not like any slugger the Mets have had since Piazza, Beltran and Carlos Delgado. And while we saw some moderate success from Lucas Duda (30 and 27 home runs over the last two seasons respectively) and Ike Davis (32 home runs in 2012) clearly neither are geared to be the anchor of a lineup.

The precipitous physical decline of team captain David Wright has shown that he can no longer shoulder the load. Free agent signings like Jason Bay (.234, 26 HR, 124 RBI over three seasons) have caused the Mets to act timidly when it came to making a splash in the free agent market. Allowing Cespedes to simply walk to the Nationals (along with Daniel Murphy) would have been tantamount to surrendering the 2016 season to their NL East division rivals. Coming off a World Series run it was imperative that they not only secured their most dangerous offensive threat, but the type of personality that will win over the city.

Buckle up Mets faithful, as the season is like a long road. Sometimes the trip is as satisfying as the destination. You can look to the skies for the new bat signal as Cespedes drives up to the plate in a vehicle that would make Bruce Wayne drool. And perhaps he can lead a tickertape parade in one sweet ride.

Lifelong Mets fan, Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing and multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company, Ag Media Solutions, Inc. (www.agmediasolutions.com), represents several boutique firms as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his line of shirts, Mondo Monster Wear (www.mondomonsterwear.com), features designs that are parodies of sports and pop culture. He is a great fan of Howie Rose and can be found most warm days on his hammock listening to the radio broadcast with his family.

About Jordan Silver

Jordan Silver has been a journalist and marketing/multimedia consultant for over twenty years. He has produced documentaries and television productions both nationally and internationally. Aside from his own blog which observes politics and modern culture, he has been published in the Miami Herald, ABCNews.com and various other publications. His company Ag Media Solutions, Inc. (www.agmediasolutions.com) represents several boutique firms and religious organizations as their outsourced marketing department. In addition, his apparel line, Mondo Monster Wear (www.mondomonsterwear.com), features designs that parody sports and pop culture. He enjoys wine, cooking, golf, vintage movies and researching history and politics. In addition, he shares his love of the Mets, NY Giants, NY Rangers and music (The Beatles, RUSH and 80s Heavy Metal) with his two children. He lives on Long Island and can be found most summer weekend days on the beach or boat with his girlfriend and their blended families. Rookie lefthander, Steven Matz is donating to Angela’s House with every strikeout he throws. Purchases of this shirt will also result in donations to this vital charity. Click here: http://www.mondomonsterwear.com/products/mets-aces

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2 Comments

  1. Michael Sirwanker

    March 1, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Great article. Hopefully Cespedes continues what he started when they acquired him. Let’s Go Mets.

  2. Pingback: 2016: Swing and A Miss - The Daily Stache

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