Report: Yoenis Cespedes is looking for a six-year deal this winter
The Mets and Yoenis Cespedes took a necessary step earlier this month in clearing a major hurdle for the two sides to negotiate a new contract when they agreed to remove the provision stating he must be released five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
While the Mets now have a better chance of retaining their superstar hurdle, a major challenge remains in doing so, that being their willingness to meet Cespedes’ demands for a new contract
And those demands will indeed be steep, as he told Mike Vorkunov of the Star Ledger he will be seeking at least a six-year contract this winter.
Sandy Alderson told Vorkunov the two sides have not begun negotiations for a new contract, which industry experts believe will be in the range of $140-175 million when it’s all said and done.
But Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said earlier in September they are expected to make a serious push towards a new deal this winter. However, warned Cespedes won’t take anything less than the best possible offer. And in addition to the Mets, the Giants, Rangers, Mariners, Phillies, Angels and Cubs as well as the Tigers could be interested in signing Cespedes this winter, writes Heyman.
But Cespedes has enjoyed his time with the Mets and living in New York, telling Ken Davidoff of the New York Post he has appreciated the fans embrace in the six weeks he’s been here.
“I was very surprised with the way the fans received me. I’m very happy here,” Cespedes told the Post. “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.”
When the new terms of Cespedes’ contract were reached, 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, 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.”