Yoenis Cespedes loves New York, appreciates how the fans have embraced him
The Mets apparently have a new and very significant fan as part of their re-emerging base in New York City.
His name is Yoenis Cespedes.
In an exclusive interview with Ken Davidoff of the New York Post, Cespedes said he asked his agents at Roc Nation Sports to re-negotiate the terms in his original contract to void the clause that states the Mets had to release him within five days following the conclusion of the World Series, which would have effectively eliminated his current club from bidding on him in free agency this winter.
The reason being if the Mets or any team execute an unrestricted release on any player, he cannot be re-signed by his current team until May 15, the following season.
“I’m actually the person who told them to change it,” the outfielder told Davidoff. “It only gave me five days for the Mets to sign me after the World Series, so I wanted it changed so that it’s not just within those five days. So even during the offseason, they can sign me if that’s what they want.”
Of course, that can be interpreted as Cespedes – who apparently has a keen business acumen – wanting to include both New York teams in his field of suitors this winter, which could only improve his leverage when he is a free agent.
But he also loves New York and appreciates how much the fans have embraced him, according to Davidoff. He is also impressed with the Mets themselves as they stand today, 7 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals with 16 to go.
“I was very surprised with the way the fans received me. I’m very happy here,” Cespedes said. “This has been the most complete team that I’ve been a part of. So I’m definitely really happy to stay here. I feel really good about being here.”
The question remains whether or not the Mets are interested in a long-term engagement with their new superstar outfielder.
When the new terms of Cespedes’ contract were reached, Sandy Alderson maintained the agreement simply gave the Mets more of an opportunity to sign him long-term if they chose to. They certainly had nothing to lose and everything to gain by agreeing to these new terms, and if anything, it was an ice breaker for future talks and most definitely got the Mets thinking.
On the flip side, it remains to be seen if Alderson and ownership are willing to commit both the dollars and years it will take to retain one of the market’s premier players. He will also be in his age-30 season, with along which what he will likely command – a contract in the area of seven years and $140-180 million – isn’t exactly Alderson’s ideal engagement.
And aside from David Wright’s long-term deal, the Mets have yet to prove they can or are willing to commit to a similar kind of contract for a player.
But the Mets have every reason to even consider overpaying for Cespedes if necessary.
Assuming Cespedes becomes a free agent, the Mets are going to need a right-handed power bat this winter. Cespedes is a proven commodity who has shown he can excel under the spotlight in New York. And while his pace cannot possibly be maintained for a long period of time, he has proven to be a transformational bat capable of carrying an offense for an extended period of time.
They have not had a player like that since Mike Piazza in his prime.
In addition, a comparable player to Cespedes on the open market – such as Justin Upton – will likely require draft compensation. Recall that the Mets relinquished their first round selection in the 2015 amateur draft by signing Michael Cuddyer last November.
Surrendering a first round selection in consecutive years – even if it stands to be in the bottom third of the first round – is hardly an ideal circumstance for a franchise that’s intent on maintaining their pipeline of players through their own system.
Whatever happens will likely have to wait until the season ends, however.
Said Cespedes, “I’m not even thinking about that right now. The only thing I’m thinking about is helping the team and playing well, and helping them win. That’s the only thing I’m focused on right now.”
He has done just that and more, which can only help his position with the Mets or whatever his future team is going forward.