Bill Baer

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Joel Sherman wonders if Yoenis Cespedes is a “problem” in Mets camp


For whatever reason, New York Post columnist Joel Sherman seems to have it out for Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. In a column posted earlier today, Sherman wonders if Cespedes’ “camp antics” are a “problem” for the Mets.

Cespedes, of course, is no stranger to “camp antics.” In 2016, he arrived at camp every day in a new luxury vehicle, something¬†Sherman loudly disliked.¬†Cespedes is also no stranger to unwarranted criticism, even from Sherman himself. Last May, Sherman lauded Curtis Granderson at the expense of Cespedes, writing, “Last year, when Cespedes no longer wanted to play center, Granderson went there without complaint on 35-year-old legs and without having played the position regularly since 2012.” In the next paragraph, Sherman chided Cespedes for a “golf obsession,” linking to an article in which the Mets reportedly asked Cespedes to stop playing golf while he’s injured. As if A) golf isn’t a major hobby among many players, and B) that having a hobby equates to an obsession. We didn’t get such hand-wringing when Madison Bumgarner missed two months following a dirt bike injury last year.

Sherman’s criticism of Cespedes today concerns his nonchalant nature during fielding drills. According to Sherman, Cespedes was wearing his hat backwards, caught balls behind his back, and threw balls in underhand. In his own column, Sherman notes that no one gave a hoot about the way Cespedes handled himself in camp and mentions that the outfielder is nursing a sore shoulder. Furthermore, manager Mickey Callaway and first base coach Ruben Amaro, Jr. praised his “energy.” Sherman wonders aloud if the coaching staff is appeasing Cespedes and provides absolutely zero evidence that there is any issue whatsoever with the outfielder’s behavior.

It just wouldn’t be spring training without columnists taking unwarranted pot shots at Cespedes, so in a way, this is how we really know baseball is back.