Mets, agents for Yoenis Cespedes agree to waive limited sign-ability clause in contract
Yoenis Cespedes has been a godsend to the Mets, as he’s hit .311/.358/.669 with 13 home runs and 31 RBI in 34 games since being acquired in a July 31 trade with the Tigers.
As recently as Monday afternoon, Cespedes has been vocal about wanting to remain with the Mets beyond 2015, but admitted he did not know how the team felt about a long-term contract.
But now he has an idea.
It appears there is mutual interest between the Mets and Cespedes for a long-term commitment, so much so the outfielder has agreed to waive the clause limiting his current team’s eligibility to sign him for up to five days following the World Series, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Per the original terms of the contract, if the Mets did not sign him by the end of five days following the World Series, the Mets had to release Cespedes. A released player cannot be re-signed until the following May 15.
Sherman said the new agreement was put in place within the last ten days.
“The amendment to Yoenis’ contract provides us the opportunity to negotiate with the player’s agent during the entire unrestricted free agent period,” the Mets said in a statement.
This by no means suggests the two sides will ever work out a new contract agreement. Rather, the Mets merely become a suitor among 29 other teams, rather than simply having five days following the World Series to negotiate with Cespedes.
Still, it at least sheds some light on the team’s thinking regarding Cespedes, and it at least gives them a better shot at competing for his services on the open free agent market this winter.
Sherman believes Cespedes, who will be 30 in 2016, could command a multi-year contract between $130-175 million this winter.
It remains to be seen if Sandy Alderson would be willing to go that high in a new contract for Cespedes. But with Daniel Murphy, Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee, and Bobby Parnell and minimal commitments on the roster beyond 2016, all likely coming off the books, there should at least be room in next year’s payroll to retain Cespedes, although they will be giving arbitration raises to currently eligible players, plus Matt Harvey is eligible for arbitration for the first time.
There is an added incentive to retaining Cespedes.
If the Mets sign the slugger to a new contract, they would not be required to relinquish their first round selection in the 2016 first-year player draft, something they were forced to do when they signed Michael Cuddyer to a two-year deal last November. Giving up a first round pick in the next draft to sign another impact bat would be counter-intutitive, unless of course the Mets choose to roll the dice with Cuddyer, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares next season.
But it’s clear the kind of impact and difference-making ability Cespedes has brought to the club in only one month. To ignore the possibilities with Cespedes might also be counter-intuitive.
In addition, as Sandy Alderson said on Monday in Washington, the Mets cannot receive draft pick compensation if Cespedes departs for another organization, since he was acquired mid-season.
So in other words, the shoe fits. Does the budget?