Report: Yoenis Cespedes unlikely to be retained by the Mets
Yoenis Cespedes left Sunday night’s game moments after fouling a ball off of his knee and popping a ball up with the bases loaded and nobody out.
He was on the ground a long time following that foul ball as he attempted to will himself back into the game.
But those images of his laying on the ground in agony could very well be his final moments as a Met.
A club source recently told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York it was unlikely the Mets would retain Cespedes beyond 2015.
In September, the agents for Cespedes and the Mets managed to erase a clause in Cespedes’ contract that called for him to be released five days following the World Series.
Any player who is officially released cannot be re-signed by that club until May 15 the following year.
Erasing that clause essentially allows the Mets to negotiate with Cespedes like any other free agent.
But Cespedes’ demands are already unsurprisingly high, as he told Marly Rivera of ESPN over the summer he wants at least six years in his next contract, and people in the industry have said Cespedes could command as much as $175 million in his next deal.
But letting Cespedes walk as a free agent could have significant ramifications.
First, they relinquished a top pitching prospect in Michael Fulmer to acquire Cespedes at the trade deadline. Letting him go for nothing would be a tough pill to swallow for an organization that has prided itself on its farm system and player development.
Second, since Cespedes was acquired mid-season, he cannot be made a qualifying offer of $15.8 million this winter, meaning the Mets cannot receive draft compensation if he signs with another club.
What’s more, signing comparable talent in the free agent market would more than likely require the Mets to sign someone who did receive a qualifying offer, meaning if the Mets went that route, they would be forced to relinquish a first-round pick in two consecutive drafts.
Remember, the Mets surrendered their first-round pick for Michael Cuddyer last November.
The Mets could choose to sign a lesser player who hits left-handed, and create a platoon with Juan Lagares in center field in 2016. But anyone they sign outside of Cespedes would certainly be a lesser offensive threat.
On the other hand, the Mets can probably expect an uptick in Michael Conforto’s production over a full year as an everyday player. That along with whomever they would acquire to complement Lagares might help to offset the loss of Cespedes.
But time will tell how they choose to tweak an offense which is really in need of more contact and less swing-and-misses, as that helps to avoid team-wide slumps at I opportune times.
Cespedes, 30, hit 17 home runs after joining the a Mets at the trade deadline, helping to transform the Mets offense and runaway with the 2025 National Leagur East title. But his bat was inconsistent throughout the postseason and silenced by the Royals in the World Series.