Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes that he will be seeking at least a six-year deal this Winter when he becomes a free agent.
“My only hope is to stay healthy,” Cespedes said. “I’m not thinking about a contract, but I do know that I will be looking for a contract that is six years or more, has to be six years or more. We’ll see what happens.”
Cespedes has made it no secret that he loves playing in New York and that he enjoys the passion that Mets fans have for their team. He recently told the New York Post that these last six weeks with the Mets have been the best time of his four year career in major-league baseball.
It was also Cespedes himself, who called his agent and told him to get rid of the clause that would’ve limited the Mets to an exclusive five day window to sign him. He said he enjoys playing for the Mets and he wanted to be sure that they had as much time as they needed to decide whether or not they wanted to bring him back.
It will be interesting to see how the Mets handle this after the season. Will the Wilpons give Sandy Alderson the go-ahead if he decides that he wants Cespedes back?
More importantly, with attendance and revenue reportedly up over 50 percent this year, will the Wilpons increase payroll accordingly as they’ve been promising once fans flocked back to Citi Field? Or will they continue to operate right under their $100 million Mendoza Line?
On Monday night, Yoenis Cespedes hit his 35th home run of the season and 17th since being acquired by the Mets. After not homering in his first 10 games with the Mets, all 17 of Cespedes home runs have come since August 12, which is the most in the majors since that date.
Jeff Passan put up a wordy treatise yesterday on why the Mets won’t sign Cespedes, while a chorus of others continue to harp on how Yoenis won’t be worth what he gets because he’s never played like this before.
This is true in a sense, he’s never been a 6+ WAR player before, but he’s also never really had a real chance to stick anywhere. So before you go wagering against Cespedes at a sportsbook online betting site, hear me out.
His first year with Oakland he was new not just to MLB but to the U.S. Given the circumstances I think he did great as a rookie. Then came 2013, his sophomore campaign, which was an off-year of sorts but even then there were two (one .800+ and one 900+) high OPS months sandwiched around a hamstring injury and a wrist issue. The first half of 2014 saw him hit 14 homers, 21 doubles, 53 runs, 57 RBI, and even 27 walks thrown in for good measure — starting to sound more like the Cespedes we know?
Then came the 2014 trade deadline with one of the biggest examples in recent memory of a trade that somehow managed to hurt both teams. Cespedes gets traded to Boston for Jon Lester, where Yoenis never quite gains his footing in the logjam of Boston’s outfield. Now as this was his third year, I think you have to cut the guy some slack. Boston, like New York, can be a notoriously fickle landing spot … full of oddities and idiosyncrasies, some players do well while others struggle. A lot of people out there saw a right-handed power hitter who would thrive at Fenway when in actuality many a Cespedes frozen-rope that would have gone out in just about any other park bounced off the Green Monster.
So he gets traded again before the start of the 2015 season, this time to Detroit for Rick Porcello where he crushes it to the tune of 13 homers, 27 doubles and an .821 OPS in the first half (remember, he also had an .861 OPS in 2012).
Cespedes has only been in major league baseball for four years having arrived relatively late as a Cuban defector. In 2013 after only one year some wondered whether he’d already peaked — they saw a nice player with a great arm, some pop and some speed, but not the beast that many had projected given his tools.
But the monstrous power, the bat speed, the decent contact rate, it was all still present (still is) … and there was that first half in 2014 as well which landed him third in All-Star voting behind Jose Bautista and Mike Trout.
Cespedes not only made the leap from Cuba to the U.S. successfully, he managed to put up decent (if not occasionally gaudy) numbers over the course of a four year stretch that saw him play for four different teams. It should be no surprise that Yoenis wants to stay with the Mets. Perhaps it’s comfort level, perhaps he really loves the city, or perhaps he’s just tired of bouncing around. Whatever the case, he is obviously a good fit.
“A team like the Mets, if they give him a good offer, he’s going to stay,” Prieto said . “He wants to compete; that’s what’s most important to this kid. He wants to be a part of that. That’s why he’s doing good over there, because he knows they have a good chance to go to the playoffs or even go all the way through.”
The notion that his current two month stretch is a total aberration is problematic on several levels. He was having a tremendous season even before he came to NY, and he’s had torrid streaks before. To imply that this is somehow an outlier because his career numbers don’t support it is disingenuous given the fact that he’s had stretches of doing pretty close to what we’re seeing, not to mention the dampening impact of his tumultuous history.
This isn’t a flash in the pan “out of nowhere” hot streak. This is a sustained six week bombardment of National League pitching the likes of which hasn’t been seen in quite some time, by a guy who many felt would be just this sort of player when he first came on the scene.
You either have the ability to do this or you don’t. You can count the players with the ability to do what Cespedes is doing on one hand. Even if this is an anomaly, the fact that Cespedes is even capable of this sort of thing makes him immensely valuable — clearly there’s some off the charts God-given talent here.
At worst Cespedes might be a .260 – .270 hitting, 20 something home run, 70-80 RBI guy … in other words Curtis Granderson without the walks. But in my estimation that is Cespedes’ baseline (the numbers support this) … So he is at least this sort of player with some very potent indicators that he might be something quite a bit more.
Signing Cespedes is simply a risk the Mets have to take. Sure they might get Curtis Granderson 2.0, or, they might get a .900 – 1.000 OPS monster who can readily put a team on his shoulders and carry them into the playoffs year after year … hard to put a price tag on that.