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Mets' Yoenis Cespedes Says He Could Hit 52 HRs in 2020 Despite Injury Struggles

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

New York Mets Yoenis Cespedes (52) holds his broken bat as he looks at a video replay of his flyout to deep left field during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, April 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes said he's aiming to match his jersey number by hitting 52 home runs during the 2020 MLB season. 

ESPN's Eduardo Perez relayed a conversation he had with Cespedes, who's played just 119 games over the past two years because of injury problems, about his sky-high expectations for next year during an appearance on MLB Network Radio:

MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM @MLBNetworkRadio

Yoenis Cespedes to @PerezEd: I could hit 52 home runs in 2020. @ynscspds | @Mets | #Mets | #LGM https://t.co/MkDZ4WXw65

The 34-year-old Cuba native has flashed MVP-level form at times throughout his MLB career. He posted a .287/.337/.604 triple-slash line with 17 home runs in just 57 games after being acquired by the Mets from the Detroit Tigers at the 2015 trade deadline.

While that's a 48-homer pace over the course of a 162-game season, Cespedes' career high in longballs is 35 and his struggles staying on the field in recent years are a major concern for 2020 and beyond.

He suffered a fractured ankle in May and Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in November it was "too early to tell" whether the outfielder would play at all next year.

"I don't have enough information to predict when he's going to be back," Van Wagenen told reporters.

Meanwhile, Cespedes and the Mets reached an agreement last week that allows him to remain with the club, but his base salary will be "significantly lower" than the expected $29.5 million, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported that's had a trickle-down effect as other teams have reached out to New York about the slugger's potential trade availability given the reduced cost, though no deal is "close or imminent" at this stage of the offseason.

His outlook should become more clear when spring training arrives in February.