In a recent interview with Matt Ehalt of The Record, Yoenis Cespedes was directly asked if he intended to honor his current three-year contract with the Mets. The response was just as direct: “Yes.”
In a year of underwhelming returns for the Mets, Cespedes has been one of the few bright spots. If anything, he has overperformed expectations, hitting .295/.365/.570 in 98 games. He has also made significant improvements at the plate in terms of patience, averaging fewer strikeouts and drawing more walks.
Mets fans have come to expect the worst, and many expected Cespedes to use his contractually allowed opt-out at the end of the season in pursuit of a more lucrative contract. The 2017 free agent market is relatively dry, particularly for outfielders, where some of the few comparable assets to Cespedes include Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo.
Financially, it’s not difficult to see the advantage for Cespedes in opting out of his contract. At only 30 years old and in the prime of his career, it’s easy to see him getting a long-term deal worth at least $100 million. However, he has openly admitted his love for New York City, and the fans have likewise embraced him. After spending his first few years being shuffled between Oakland, Boston and Detroit, Cespedes has truly found a home with the Mets, having been embraced as a star by fans and the media. For some players, that sense of community and belonging is far more important than a few extra million dollars.
We’ll see if Cespedes stays true to his word when the end of the season rolls around, but this recent statement is the most encouraging things fans have yet heard about the slugger’s future. However the Mets finish the season, knowing Cespedes will be a strong piece of future contention is sure to keep hopes high for 2017 and beyond.