After signing 4-year deal, outfielder in long-term driver's seat with Mets
By Glenn Sattell
Special to MLB.com |
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- No more car shows. Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is signed long term and focused on bringing the team a championship.
With fancy rides almost as flashy as his power at the plate, Cespedes is toning down that side of himself and instead putting the emphasis back on the diamond. Having signed a four-year, $110 million contract in November, Cespedes is settling in as a cornerstone in the Mets' future.
"Having that [long-term contract] really gives me a sense of calm, knowing that I'm no longer year to year and my home is here with the Mets for the next four years," Cespedes said Saturday upon arriving at Spring Training. "It gives me some tranquility, and I am able to focus better."
Not ready to take on the label of leader that may come eventually, Cespedes said it's business as usual in his everyday approach.
"I don't think anything will change [as far as leadership is concerned]," he said. "I think I'm still going to continue to be that person who goes out on the field and wants to give everything of himself, work as hard as I can and continue to help out the team and everyone else in any way I can."
"I don't think my focus was ever not on baseball," Cespedes said. "Last year, with the cars, that was just something off the field. I think the second I was on that field, the focus was always on baseball, and that's how it continues to be.
"Last year, that sort of happened just because it happened. I didn't really plan that."
Cespedes did reveal that he owns more horses than he did last year.
Mets manager Terry Collins said he didn't see the cars and horses as a distraction and that having fun wasn't a bad thing.
"We have a basketball hoop in the clubhouse in New York," Collins said. "There's nothing wrong with having a little fun.
"One of the things that's amazed me about Major League Baseball players is, they can flip it on. At 6:35 (for a 7:05 game) that flip is being switched on and the nonsense stops. So if he comes in here tomorrow on a horse, at 10 a.m. he's going to be on the field and he's going to get after it."
So with Spring Training underway, a new contract in his back pocket and a roster that can compare with any in baseball, Cespedes is focusing in on winning games for a team with a window of opportunity that is wide open.
"I don't think it's a sense of urgency. This is, however, what every ballplayer wants to get, is that World Series," Cespedes said. "As long as we stay healthy with this team, I just think we have a really great chance of achieving that."
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.