Reports: Mets, Yoenis Cespedes agree to three-year contract
The deal is worth a reported $75 million and includes an opt-out after the first year.
The Mets have agreed to terms with free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on a three-year contract, Jon Heyman reports. The deal, pending a physical, includes an opt-out after year one, per Heyman. Fox's Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is worth a total of $75 million. For 2016, Cespedes will reportedly make $27.5 million. The opt-out, of course, would allow him to re-enter the free agent market next offseason, when the crop of available free agents will be much thinner.
Cespedes, 30, is coming off a 2015 campaign in which he batted .291/.328/.542 with 35 homers for the Tigers and Mets. He also won his first career Gold Glove this past season. For his career, Cespedes has put up a 122 OPS+ at the plate across parts of four major-league seasons while averaging 30 homers and 35 doubles per 162 games played. Cespedes was originally signed by the Athletics in 2012 as a high-profile free agent out of Cuba.
The Mets of course acquired Cespedes from Detroit last season prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Down the stretch he batted .287/.337/.604 with 17 home runs in 57 games. Cespedes wasn't productive during the Mets' postseason run to the World Series, but he did hit two home runs in the playoffs.
Back in New York, Cespedes figures to resume his role as the Mets' cleanup hitter and center fielder. Cespedes is much better suited to a corner spot, and he grades out as a defensive liability in center. Juan Lagares figures to be in line to spell Cespedes on occasion when there's a late-inning lead.
The NL East-rival Nationals were in the mix for Cespedes up to the end. Reportedly, they made a five-year, $90 million offer to him. If that's the case, then Cespedes chose less money and fewer years to go back to New York.
Counting the likely salaries for the Mets' remaining arbitration-eligible players, Cespedes' deal pushes the Mets' 2016 payroll to well over $100 million. That still doesn't constitute a market-appropriate payroll on the part of ownership, but at least the Wilpons are making something of an investment in the product.