Cespedes, of course, signed a three-year, $75 million contract late in the offseason to remain with the Mets. He can opt out after this upcoming season. Cespedes is due to earn $27.5 million in 2016.
Cespedes’ arrival comes three days before the official Wednesday report date for position players.
SUNDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:
Manager Terry Collins suggested that Cespedes’ early arrival speaks well of his commitment to being a team-first player as well as the clubhouse culture the Mets have built. Read more from columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post and news stories in Newsday, the Daily News and at NJ.com.
Hansel Robles is considered in sound shape for a bullpen spot. Erik Goeddel and Sean Gilmartin probably have a leg up for the final two spots, but Collins said team officials will give consideration to Jim Henderson, Logan Verrett, Stolmy Pimentel and Rafael Montero. Henderson, a former Milwaukee Brewers closer, is in camp on a minor league contract and reportedly has a June 15 opt-out clause. Read more on the bullpen competition in the Post, Newsday and at NJ.com and a feature on Henderson at MLB.com.
Goeddel has a sore lat muscle and was advised not to throw during drills Saturday. "It's so early in the year, there is no point in pushing it,” Goeddel told the Post. "I'm not going to throw in any of the drills. I will give it a few days."
Ken Rosenthal at Foxsports.com notes that up-the-middle fielding is the Mets’ biggest weakness, but it should not be a fatal flaw thanks to shifting and other factors.
Las Vegas pitching coach Frank Viola does not expect a hangover for the Mets’ young pitchers after they logged so many extra innings with the postseason in 2015. “Everybody looks at it differently now, but I never even thought about the extra innings being a concern the next year,” Viola, who pitched 31 1/3 innings in the postseason in 1987, tells columnist John Harper in the Daily News. “For me, that success pitching big games in the postseason was something that carried over and pushed me the next year to be better.”
The Mets, who have a glut of outfielders thanks to Cespedes’ unexpected decision to return, could trade Alejandro De Aza as Opening Day approaches. For now, the Mets are content to hold on to De Aza, Marc Carig writes in Newsday. Read more in the Daily News.
Carig on Twitter investigates how Raywilly Gomez, a catcher in camp on a non-roster invite, got his first name. The verdict, Carig writes: “Gomez’s father admired the work of New York-born musicians Ray Barretto and Willie Colon. Clearly, naming his son after just one wouldn’t do. ‘So,’ Gomez said, ‘he put it all together.’”
Columnist David Lennon in Newsday identifies five things that could derail the Mets.
Bob Raissman in the Daily News suggests the media love Collins.
Catching prospect Xorge Carrillo will not be in big league camp despite an initial invite as the result of suffering a hand fracture in his final game in winter ball in Mexico.
Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post catches up with the Washington Nationals. On the Mets, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo says: “We’re trying to knock them off. They knocked us off the mountain. We were the champs two of the last four years. They’re the champs right now. We feel we match up with them very well. Since 2012, I think we are [49-26] against them, so we know we’ve done well against them. I like where we are at. When healthy we can compete against anybody. We feel good about ourselves.”
Matt Ehalt in the Record chats with hitting coach Kevin Long about the lineup's potential.
From the bloggers ... Mets Report applauds the team treating its pitchers conservatively the first week of Grapefruit League play.
BIRTHDAYS: Ty Williams, who pitched for Brooklyn last season, turns 22.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Action shot of Adam Rubin Studios' lead photographer. pic.twitter.com/GDc88KCYxa— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) February 20, 2016
YOU’RE UP: Is Cespedes reporting to camp three days early an important message?