MLB Hot Stove: Here's why the Mets needed Yoenis Cespedes back so badly

The Hot Stove season finally got some big news Tuesday with the Mets reportedly bringing back star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on a four-year, $110 million deal.

It's not a long-term deal, but the average annual value ($27.5 million) is huge. Only Miguel Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez have signed deals with a higher average annual value, and Cabrera's was an extension. A-Rod signed his deal when he was arguably the best player in baseball. While Cespedes is very good, he's not really in the "best in baseball" conversation.

So isn't this a bad deal?

Well, first of all, it isn't a very long contract. This deal only runs through Cespedes' age-34 season. Secondly, they play in New York. C'mon. The club will make plenty of money.

Finally, the Mets' window with this group is wide open right now but it might not stay that way for long.

The following players are only signed through 2017: Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda, Rene Rivera and Addison Reed.

The following players are only signed through 2018: Asdrubal Cabrera, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia.

Young guns Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard will be around for a while, yes, and we could discard some of the above names like Bruce, Rivera and maybe even Duda, but overall, the Mets have a bit of urgency to win the World Series in the next few years.

Not only that, but we've seen how much simply riding young fireballers can backfire. Including Zack Wheeler, what are the odds all five high-upside starting pitchers can avoid major injury in the same season? They haven't done so yet.

If they do, the Mets will need an offense to go along with that pitching, and Cespedes is the type that can anchor a champion.

The Mets needed an anchor like Yeonis Cespedes for this team. USATSI

If not, they need the offense to absorb some of the lost production and, again, Cespedes is the man who can be the centerpiece of a great offense.

Look around the roster. If Cespedes isn't "the guy" on the offense, who is? Whatever is left of David Wright? A 36-year-old Granderson? Walker, who is coming off back surgery? Cabrera or Duda?

No, it had to be Cespedes.

The Mets surely aren't done this offseason, but with this group moving forward -- especially with how well Cespedes and the fan base have taken to one another -- this signing had to come first.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last six World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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