Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, examines and ranks the potential suitors for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who is expected to opt out of his contract with the Mets as soon as the World Series ends.
She projects the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Angels as the leading candidates to sign Cespedes, picks the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers as the dark horses, and the Washington Nationals as an unlikelt threat, writing:
“As if signing Daniel Murphy wasn’t enough to tweak the Mets last winter, the Nationals went after Cespedes as well. In fact the Nationals seemingly had a bigger contract on the table for the slugger, but the Mets held onto him with more money upfront and the opt-out after one year to give him the chance to leverage this past season into a bigger deal now. The emergence of Trea Turner as an outfielder and a payroll that is already committed to about $140 million, however, seems to take the Nationals out of the real competition to land Cespedes.”
In the end she concludes that at least for now, the Mets remain as the “obvious choice.”
My take is that Sandy Alderson understands just how important it is to bring back Cespedes in 2017. Important for the team’s chances to win and important for his own legacy.
I’m reminded of something Cespedes said before the end of the season. “I’ve said it before, my intentions are to be here for three years, and if I could spend the rest of my career with the Mets, I would.”
“He’s as close to a five-tool athlete as I’ve seen,” teammate Curtis Granderson recently told ESPN. “When he’s healthy, he can steal bases and gets down the line better than anybody I’ve seen. He hits for power, he hits for average. He can play all three outfield positions. He has one of the best arms in the game.”
“Plus, everyone loves him in the clubhouse,” Granderson added. “He gets along great with everybody. I think he loves being in the city of New York and New Yorkers all like him. So I think it would be huge to get him back there.”
While the opportunity to opt out and squeeze out some more millions was the smart thing to do, I really believe Cespedes will give the Mets every chance to match any offer he gets. And unless he gets some extraordinarily over the top offer like a five year, $150 million deal, the Mets will match any four year deal. So let it be written, so let it be done.