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.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.