The mysterious and chronic leg ailments of our best hitter were finally traced to heel spurs that would end Yoenis Cespedes 2018 season. According to team physicians, Cespedes had a successful first surgery of one heel and, following a few months of rest, will have surgery on the other heel. This will be followed by several more months of rest and then a very lengthy rehabilitation process. After that, the left fielder will need time to strengthen himself and then get back up to playing speed with a minor league assignment. The best case scenario calls for Cespedes to take the field by mid-season in 2019, perhaps July. But when has anything related to the Mets ever panned out as a best case scenario?
For a more likely outcome, look at Troy Tulowitzki. Three years ago, the Toronto shortstop was considered one of the best players in baseball, a five-tool superstar and MVP candidate (five seasons of .900+ OPS). Now he’s a high-paid player who’s spent the better part of the past few seasons on the disabled list. Like Cespedes, he used to be electrifying, has a big contract and questions about when he’ll play again.
Tulowitzki had a series of leg and hip injuries limit his 2017 to just 66 games and hasn’t played a game this season following April double bone spur surgery that was believed to be the solution to the root cause. Sound familiar? Tulowitzki was expected back this summer but was just shut down for the year. Tulowitzki is nearly 34 and still under contract for two years plus an option. The best case scenario is that his off-season recovery goes well and he’ll rejoin the Blue Jays in spring training for 2019. But will he still have the range to play shortstop? Will he be able to stay off the DL? Just as we can look to Don Mattingly to know that we can’t count on any real David Wright comeback, we can look to Tulowitzki to see what we can expect in the future from Cespedes.
At least for 2019, the Mets better have other ideas in mind for who might be batting third.