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The case against the Mets re-signing Yoenis Cespedes

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The Mets are unlikely to re-sign outfielder, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last couple of days, #SignCespedes has been a popular hashtag among Mets fans on Twitter. It has especially gained steam since Michael Cuddyer's surprising retirement on Friday left the Mets with additional payroll flexibility for the 2016 season.

Even with the added flexibility, though, the prospects of a Cespedes reunion remain highly unlikely for the Mets. The team's payroll currently sits at just over $100 million with its recent signings of Jerry Blevins and Bartolo Colon. That's roughly where payroll was on Opening Day last season. If the Mets re-sign Cespedes at $20 million per season and make no other transactions this offseason, their payroll would obviously be just over $120 million.

While most Mets fans would like to see a higher payroll, letting Cespedes walk is not necessarily a bad thing. Given the Mets' current payroll realities, the Mets have several reasons to let him go and sign a less payroll-restrictive alternative in the outfield.

Cespedes has a .319 on-base percentage in his major league career, which is a bit below the major league average over that span overall. But his walk rate has declined every year since his rookie season in 2012, and it bottomed out at 4.9 percent this year, far below the league average of 8 percent.

Despite looking like a superstar this season, Cespedes hit .251/.298/.446 between 2013 and 2014. It is possible that Cespedes improved at the plate, but it is also possible that he's closer to the hitter he was in the previous two season. Cespedes played the best baseball of his career after he was traded to the Mets this season, but he had never hit more than 26 home runs in a season before this year. So the 17 he hit in 57 games with the Mets was clearly not a sustainable rate. He also could have benefited, at least to some degree, from the Mets' weak schedule in August and September, as 14 of his 17 home runs over that span came against the Rockies, Marlins, Braves, and Phillies.

So which Yoenis Cespedes will show up next year: the 2015 edition or the 2013 edition who couldn't crack a .300 on-base percentage? The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. But with the Mets' payroll realities, they are better suited going after a less-expensive alternative in the outfield and letting Cespedes get his big payday elsewhere.