With the rest of spring training suspended and the start of the regular season pushed back at least two weeks, there's plenty of time to answer some Mets questions ...
1) Now that the start of baseball is pushed back several weeks, will Yoenis Cespedes be given a pass on the extra innings he needs to achieve his $10 million in incentives? ~ Text from Jan in St. Lucie
I doubt it, though typically any sort of anomaly like this will no doubt involve the MLB Players Union and/or is already is addressed in the contract -- especially given the man injured himself in an incident with a boar.
That said, overall it is an advantage for him and the Mets because it means he'll be needed for fewer games and allows more time for him to rehab, which is a good thing for everyone involved.
2) Do you see Cespedes as a potential chemistry issue as he's a big personality that has not been involved the last couple of years, yet he will command a certain batting placement and playing time. Is he well-liked? How will Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso and other team leaders deal with it? ~ Text from Sam in Manhattan
I don't think so. The bold play he's known for on field is something he did more toward the early part of his career and in 2015. Since then, he's been much quieter and probably humbled by how he's struggled to get back to where he wants to be in his career.
To be honest, those who know him and cover him repeatedly talk about how soft-spoken and somewhat private he is. For example, the reason you never hear about him partying or getting into trouble is because he's far more likely to have friends, family, and teammates over for a private barbecue in the backyard of his ranch in Florida.
He's described as a nice guy, not the selfish, cocky, 24-and-1 (now 25-and-1) type guy that people seem to think.
The point I'm making, which directly answers your question is that, no, I don't think him being injected into this roster that he has not spent a lot of time with will be any sort of issue. Alonso wants to win and no doubt will welcome anyone, no matter how they act, if it's going to help the lineup. And Conforto and Nimmo have played with Yo, as have most of the pitching staff. They will be fine together...
3) It seems Marcus Stroman could be a difference-maker in 2020, especially since he could have been better but also worse than he was in 2019. He's viewed as a possible ace, yet will be pitching behind Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. If he has a big season, the Mets have the best front three in baseball. If he struggles, it means three quarters of the rotation could be up in the air. ~ Email from John in New Jersey
I mean, you laid it out exactly the same way I see it.
My expectation is he will be fine. He had just one really bad start out of eight last season after the Mets traded for him, the rest of which were worthy of being a mid-to-top-of-the-rotation starter. His time pitching for them extrapolated across a full 30 games would have played out to be a roughly 3.25 ERA, 3.0 WAR and 160 strikeouts in 170 innings. This is also on par with 2020 projections from FanGraphs.
Also, he now knows what it's like to pitch in front of friends and family and deal with the pressure and expectations that come along with it. He has an apartment, knows the reporters, etc., all of which he had to adjust to on the fly, while dealing with the unique experience of returning home and dealing with expectations and pressure from family and friends, all of whom likely called to welcome him, get together and pick up free tickets.
I'm sure it was a lot, but that's all behind him, leaving him able to focus entirely on baseball.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is a senior writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. His book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime.