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Mets rumors: Is Yoenis Cespedes really worth $140 million?

The Mets outfielder is headed for a major payday during the offseason.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

There has been much speculation surrounding Yoenis Cespedes and whether or not he will remain with the Mets past the end of this season. Seen as merely a rental player when he was acquired from the Tigers at the trade deadline, few people then could have imagined that he would have the impact that he has had. It was a move that almost didn't happen, as the team wanted Carlos Gomez instead and had reservations about how a lifetime American League player would fit in:

The Mets were intrigued by Cespedes's bat. But as they considered their options, at least a few members of their front office had concerns. They wondered if Cespedes, normally a left fielder, could play center field regularly if needed. They were unsure how he would make the transition to the National League, where he had never played, having spent his career with the Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox and then the Tigers.

While Gomez ended up in Houston, where he has struggled (.234/.282/.379 in 38 games, four home runs), Cespedes has flourished in New York (.302/.352/.676 in 41 games, seventeen homers), and as a result will command a large contract this offseason.

Former Mets GM Jim Duquette, now an SNY analyst, surmised that the price tag for Cespedes would at least $120-$140 million over six or seven years. That may be bad news for Mets fans who want the outfielder to stay in town. The Mets traditionally haven't been a team to dole out big contracts in the same way that their crosstown rivals in the Bronx do (five current Yankees are under contract for $100 million or more, while the Mets have had three $100 million-plus players ever, two of whom no longer play for them). But if they are confident that Cespedes will continue his run of success and help drive the club to elite status, they will need to find some way to keep him in the fold.

The risk with Cespedes is that if the Mets decide to sign him for six or seven more years, he will be in his mid 30s when his deal expires. It's not likely that he will be able to continue to play at such a high level at that point, and while he has looked good in center field so far, advancing age could very well push him to a corner spot where his position-relative value won't be quite as high. Nevertheless, for a team averse to shelling out nine-figure contracts and with several young pieces to build around, that may be a risk they're willing to take if they want to stay competitive in the National League for the foreseeable future.