Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes made waves in the media the other day when he said that he would not be opting out of the three-year, $75 million contract that he signed with New York over the winter.
When asked about that statement today, Cespedes seemed a lot less certain about what he would do when the 2016 season ends.
"I've said it before: My intentions, of course, are to be here for three years," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "And if I could spend the rest of my career with the Mets, I would."
Asked if that means he has made a decision to stay in New York, Cespedes replied: "No. My focus is just to play baseball and help the team win, hopefully make it to the playoffs. I let my agents worry about all of that."
Almost every player says that he wants to remain with his current team for the remainder of his career, but that always depends on a lot of factors. What will Cespedes’s value be on the open market be if he sets a career high in on-base percentage and hits for 30 home runs like he is on pace to do? If he does opt out, will the Mets sign him to a longer-term deal? Do the Mets even have the money available to make that kind of commitment?
Those three questions represent why Cespedes is better off leaving his options open until baseball’s business season begins. It’s cool to hear about how much he loves the Mets and New York City, but it would be silly of him and his representation to commit to anything when there is still baseball to be played.
That’s why fans shouldn’t get mad at Cespedes for backtracking on his previous word. He’s already sacrificed plenty by agreeing to a three-year deal with the Mets when he could have signed something more like the six-year, $132 million deal that fellow corner outfielder Justin Upton got from Detroit. If the Mets fail to return to the postseason in 2016 — even if that’s mostly because of bad luck and injuries — it might be in Cespedes’s best interest to move on.