Mets still unlikely to bring back Yoenis Cespedes after Michael Cuddyer’s retirement

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The Mets are an outfielder short following the surprise retirement of Michael Cuddyer, but the team is still unlikely to bring back Yoenis Cespedes, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. If the season were to start today, Juan Lagares would likely handle everyday duties in center field with Michael Conforto in left and Curtis Granderson in right.

In fact, the Mets don’t have any plans to spend big in free agency even with additional money saved from Cuddyer’s retirement. They also don’t plan to deal any of their pitching to address the outfield.

Cespedes was a difference-maker after joining the Mets from the Tigers at the trade deadline. The Cuban slugger hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI in 249 plate appearances.

The Mets have already added Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera, replacing Daniel Murphy and replacing Wilmer Flores and Ruben Tejada, respectively. They’ll still have to make another addition or two to maintain their standing in the National League.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.