The Mets may have a clearer idea for when outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will return from double heel surgery around Opening Day, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said on Monday.
Van Wagenen, who had previously said he views Cespedes as "the ultimate trade deadline piece" to suggest the 33-year-old slugger could return around the All-Star break, said on Monday he doesn't think "we'll have an idea during spring training.
"We want to make sure that he's 100 percent healthy when he comes back," Van Wagenen said, "whenever that day is."
The sentiment around the organization has been unclear. Special Assistant to the GM Omar Minaya said last month he thinks "if he gives us anything this year, that is gravy," and Cespedes himself had previously said he doesn't know exactly how many games he will play in 2019.
"I think it's unpredictable given what will happen and I can't say I will play X, Y, Z amount of games," Cespedes said between heel surgeries in September.
Cespedes underwent surgery to remove bone calcification from his right heel on Aug. 2 and his left heel on Oct. 26. He appeared in one game after May 13 last season, recording a .262/.325/.496 batting line with nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 38 games.
Though Cespedes is entering the third year of a four-year, $110 million contract, the Mets reportedly might be able to recoup some of the $29 million he is owed.
The Mets' outfield currently consists of Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo. With the offseason acquisitions of Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie and J.D. Davis creating a surplus of infielders, the Mets have been open to the idea of having Jeff McNeil play outfield as well.