The New York Mets officially re-signed slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday. Now that they have their best hitter back, the team can start to look toward next season.
Earlier in the week Cespedes and the Mets agreed on a four-year, $110 million contract. The 31-year-old will make $22.5 million next season, $29 million in 2018 and 2019 and $29.5 million in 2020. The contract includes a full n0-trade clause. Cespedes will now remain in Queens for the next four seasons.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made a good decision to commit to Cespedes for the next few years. This is the second offseason in a row that Alderson has had to make a determination on whether or not to give Cespedes a long-term contract. He was a free agent last offseason as well. In the end, Cespedes agreed to a three-year, $75 million deal to remain with the Mets. However, the contract included an opt-out clause after one year. He exercised this opt-out clause back in early November, making him a free agent once again.
The time around, Alderson did not let Cespedes remain on the market for too long. The Mets didn’t re-sign him until late January last offseason. He had a few other suitors at that point, but decided to take the offer that the Mets gave him.
It was clear that Alderson recognized that he needed to offer Cespedes a lot of money in order to get him to come back. Under Alderson, the Mets haven’t exactly been known to hand out big contracts. The is the most lucrative contract that a player has signed during his tenure as general manager. Clearly, Alderson felt as though Cespedes was worth the money.
Cespedes has been the Mets’ best offensive player for the last two years. He was traded to them from the Detroit Tigers in July of 2015 in exchange for pitcher Michael Fulmer. Over the final two months of the 2015 season, Cespedes batted .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs. He stellar offensive performance helped lead the Mets to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. This year, he hit .280 with 31 homers and 86 RBIs. Once again, he had an enormous impact on the team’s offense.
There’s no doubt that Cespedes has tremendous talent. His value to the Mets cannot be understated. The Mets understood this, and decided to make the smart decision to give him the deal that he wanted. The team’s offense is definitely in decent shape for next season with Cespedes back.
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.
Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.
Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.
Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team
Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.
Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.
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