Within a week or so, Yoenis Cespedes will no longer be an official member of the New York Mets after almost certainly opting out of the final two years of his contract. Re-signing him could prove to be very difficult (read, expensive), so it is worth asking if the Mets can survive without him.
The absence of Cespedes would undoubtedly create a huge hole in the lineup. Jay Bruce was acquired in part for this exact scenario, but even Bruce at his best (and unfortunately, we have already seen him at his worst) is not remotely close to the player Cespedes is. Can Bruce carry the team on his back like Cespedes has?
Maybe the Mets can go out and get another difference-maker. Maybe, but where do you put him? Catcher is the only position where the Mets can really upgrade, and except for Buster Posey, there are no catchers in baseball who can do what Cespedes can do with a bat. First base is a possibility if the Mets finally decide Lucas Duda is not the answer there. Of course, they could go for another outfielder and move Bruce or Michael Conforto to first, which could happen if the Mets can somehow re-sign Cespedes. Or maybe David Wright goes to first and the Mets make a trade for a third baseman like Todd Frazier.
So the answer appears to be no — the Mets could not survive with Yoenis Cespedes. However, did anyone think the Mets could survive with four of their five young starters on the disabled list down the stretch? Not only did they survive, they thrived and made the playoffs (for one day, anyway. But it still counts!).
What it all comes down to is that no one player is truly irreplaceable. Yes, we would all love to see Yoenis Cespedes in a Mets uniform in 2017. Not only is he fun to watch, it would increase the Mets odds of making the postseason for a third consecutive year. But even if he is not on the team. they should still be competitive and be a threat for a deep October run.