With the timing for his opt-out clause rapidly approaching, the Mets are weighing their options with Yoenis Cespedes. A report from Buster Olney at ESPN seems to suggest that the Mets are choosing to play the long game with Cespedes, which is to say the team would wait for him to opt out and renegotiate with them, as well as any other suitors, this offseason.
"Folks within the Mets' organization fully expect that Cespedes' representation will attempt to parlay that option into more money and explore market alternatives -- and they're willing to wait for his decision, a luxury afforded to them by the strength of the rest of their team and by a market that will be flush with sluggers," says Olney.
The free agent market is strong for power hitters, specifically outfielders, with Cespedes joining the ranks of Mark Trumbo, Edwin Encarnacion, Brandon Moss, Jose Bautista, and others, if he does opt out of his contract.
Olney mentions that the Mets believe that Cespedes wants to keep playing in New York, but that the team wouldn’t want to offer him a blockbuster deal and would be willing to add in another opt-out clause in a new contract. Olney sites Cespedes’s age and “streaky nature of his production” as reasons for the Mets’ reluctance to sign him to a huge deal.
While it makes sense that Cespedes would like to stay in New York, it appears that some are writing off the allure of a big-money deal, especially as Cespedes has now, two seasons in a row, put up career-best numbers. The Mets’ strongest bargaining position would likely be to attempt to renegotiate the terms of his contract before the opt-out, which would occur three days after the end of the World Series.
Cespedes signed a three-year, $75 million dollar contract with the Mets last off-season, with an opt-out clause after the 2016 season. He put up an .884 OPS with 31 home runs this season. Cespedes just turned 31 years old, and has played five seasons in the major leagues, with the last year and a half being in New York. Earlier this season, he expressed the desire to play out the entirety of the three-year contract with the Mets but quickly walked back that statement.