Back in December of 2016, the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million contract with a full no-trade clause.
According to John Harper of the New York Daily News, though, the Mets did not initially want to include the no-trade clause, but felt obligated to with another team emerging as a threat to sign the Mets’ star outfielder that, at the time, had carried the Mets offense to back-to-back postseason appearances for only the second time in the team’s history.
That other team was the Houston Astros.
They made a competitive offer to the Mets slugger and also offered a proximity benefit for him during Spring Training as the Astros’ complex in West Palm Beach is close to his ranch in Vero Beach.
According to one source, that was among his biggest priorities too.
“His considerations were contender, money, no-trade clause, and train in Florida near his ranch. In some type of order.”
However, there was another factor looming at large, that a Mets person with knowledge of the situation at the time thought was the most alarming one of all.
Cespedes did not like playing for Terry Collins and it was well known.
“We actually thought that might be a big reason he was considering playing for the Astros. There were a few issues, and Cespedes wasn’t the only player; Terry didn’t communicate as well his last couple of years.”
There were apparently multiple incidents where this became an issue. One of those scenarios was in a game where Collins was pulling his starters early, but he waited longer for Cespedes and the outfielder became furious with his manager over the issue.
Nonetheless, the Mets knew that the Houston Astros were not willing to go beyond four years, like them, and as a result believed it would come down to which team he wanted to be apart of more.
With the team realizing that, the Mets decided to add a caveat to the table that would separate them and it worked. They added the full no-trade clause despite Sandy Alderson’s hesitance to do so. It was believed to be “the separator,” as someone put it.
At the end of the day, the team’s front office personnel believed their need to keep their star overshadowed their reluctance to give a full no-trade clause.