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Yoenis Cespedes likely to bat second for Mets

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As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has been batting second in the Mets’ lineup this season because new manager Mickey Callaway believes that his team’s best hitters should receive the most at-bats.

Cespedes has batted second in just 39 games out of 788 in his career, though he’s had good production — batting .289/.328/.624 with 15 home runs and 34 RBI in 183 plate appearances. Cespedes has also performed well this spring, launching three home runs in 23 at-bats across eight games.

DiComo suggests that Cespedes will bat second at least against right-handed pitchers with a left-handed hitter like Brandon Nimmo or Asdrubal Cabrera (switch) leading off. DiComo also suggests the Mets may bat their pitcher eighth as well.

Padres will try to lock up Fernando Tatís Jr. to a long term deal

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The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will try to get Fernando Tatís Jr. locked up in a long-term deal before the start of the 2020 season.

It’d be a wise move from the team’s perspective, of course. Tatís showed in 2019 that he’s the future of the franchise, hitting .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases through 84 games while playing spectacular defense at short. He was a serious contender for the Rookie of the Year Award before going down to injury and still finished third despite playing just a tad over half a season.

That talent and promise means that, in all likelihood, Tatís stands to make massive money in arbitration and free agency once he gets there. If he gets there, that is. Because as we’ve seen so often in recent years, teams have been aggressive in their efforts to lock up young stars like Tatís, buying out their arbitration and at least a couple of their free agency years. These deals tend to be team-friendly, with multiple team options aimed at getting maximal value out of such players before they hit the open market. Of course, the players get much more up front money than they would in the three seasons in which teams can and do set their salaries unilaterally, usually at less than $1 million per year. It’s a standard now vs. later tradeoff, even if the value of the “now” is far less than the value of “later” and even if it pays these guys far less than they’re worth overall.

But that’s the system. And it’s one which will force Tatís to make a tough choice: either take a deal at a time when the team has most of the leverage or else turn down millions in hand now in order take a shot at many more millions later. In his case, he’ll have a rookie season with multiple injuries to think about too. Does that portend future injury issues? Could he, like some players who have been in his shoes before, end up damaged goods by the time he expected to get paid?

We’ll see how both he and the Padres calculate all of that between now and February, it seems.