Outfielder Yoenis Céspedes, who has been out of action for over a year now — save for a one-game cameo last July 20 — seemingly will take quite a while longer to return to the field after suffering an embarrassing off-the-field injury. Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced to the media on Monday afternoon (during a press conference that was scheduled to re-affirm his faith in his beleaguered manager) that Cespedes suffered multiple fractures in his right ankle during an accident at his ranch in Florida. (The accident apparently was not horse-related, which needed to be confirmed considering Céspedes’ history.)
MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo was among the reporters to provide details Monday:
Cespedes suffered a "violent fall" and twisted his right ankle in a hole, per GM Brodie Van Wagenen. He was not riding a horse, the GM said, but it was a non-baseball related activity. Van Wagenen did not elaborate further, and did not offer a timeline for Cespedes' recovery.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 20, 2019
Considering that Céspedes’ status was already rather uncertain as he recovered from double-heel surgery, his odds of getting on the field in 2019 just dropped significantly lower than they already were. That’s unfortunate for the Mets, as the 33-year-old Céspedes — the key offensive cog on their 2015 NL pennant-winning club — remained a significant offensive contributor the last time he played. Céspedes has an outstanding .282/.346/.543 slash line with 74 homers over 1,270 plate appearances in three-plus seasons with the Mets, and he’s in the third season of a four-year, $110 million contract that unfortunately looks like it’ll end up being a disappointment due to his injuries.
If there’s somewhat of a bright side to this issue, it’s that the Mets had already done a pretty good job of replacing Céspedes, and the outfield hasn’t been nearly as much of an issue as their rotation, which has been ravaged by injuries and ineffectiveness. Their primary left fielder, Jeff McNeil, has been one of the best contact hitters in baseball this season, and Michael Conforto had a stellar 157 OPS+ through 180 plate appearances before going on the injured list with a concussion. Brandon Nimmo has gotten off to a slow start from a contact-making standpoint but still has a .344 OBP and should be able to get back to the form that enabled him to post a 149 OPS+ in 2018 sooner than later, and Juan Lagares has struggled mightily at the plate but is at least playing decent defense in center field.