In a move that most New York Mets fans have seen coming for weeks if not months by now, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes officially opted out of his contract with two years remaining to become a free agent. Cespedes has re-signed with the Mets last year and part of the three-year, $75 million deal was a two-opt out clause. While leaving a large amount of money on the table, Cespedes will be the headliner in an otherwise weak free agent class this season, giving him the possibility of getting a hefty payday.
Unfortunately, the Mets have a low chance of re-signing Cespedes, but they need to if they want any chance of scoring runs to compliment what should be the best rotation in baseball with all five star pitchers healthy again. Cespedes was second on the team this year in hits with 134, and first in both home runs with 31 and runs batted in with 86. In other words, the Mets need Cespedes if they want to see any run production from a lineup that really struggled at times throughout the 2016 season.
Curtis Granderson did have 30 home runs in 2016, but the Mets simply can’t rely on a player who’ll be 36 next year to have that same level of production. The Mets certainly need Cespedes, but it’s highly unlike that they’ll want to shell out the money it’ll take to keep him. They’d just as soon take the chance that they won’t need to score a ton of runs with their projected starting pitching.
At this point, two teams—the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants--to me seem to be the most likely to sign Cespedes. As painful as it would be for Met fans to see Cespedes playing in the pinstripes, the Yankees could use a guy with Cespedes’ big bat. If they want to make a playoff run with their nice mesh of young talent and veterans such as Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, Cespedes could provide a huge offensive boost in what could be a formidable middle of the order with him, Gary Sanchez, and Castro.
It all depends on whether or not Brian Cashman would be willing to shell out $100 million for a 31-year-old player when he knows that Bryce Harper will be a free agent next year and will likely need the biggest contract in baseball history in order to come to the Bronx.
A more likely scenario would be for Cespedes to go to the Giants, where he could provide a spark for a lineup that was ranked near the bottom in both home runs and slugging percentage. Cespedes has over 60 home runs in his past two seasons, and fits the mold of the impact players the Giants desperately need.null