First, Yoenis Cespedes opted-out and now the Mets took their first step to retain their mercurial slugger.
Qualifying offers were extended today to both Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker. They both have a week to decide to accept them.
With a value of $17.2 million, you have to expect Cespedes to decline it, because why would he opt out of $47.5 million coming to him in order to get less this coming season.
That just wouldn’t make sense. The Mets know that, but they offered it to get the compensatory draft picks if another team signs him.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t want him.
“There was an interest on their part in doing something sooner rather than later,” said general manager Sandy Alderson to reporters at the General Managers’ Meetings in Arizona. Alderson expects the Cespedes situation to be resolved by the Winter Meetings and met with his representatives over the past few weeks.
So there is time there and the Mets do want their slugger back. Walker is another story, though. The second baseman may just accept the QO, since he is coming back from back surgery and may want a mulligan for his walk year. He was productive hitting .282 with 23 homers and 55 RBI last year, but a bad back curtailed his season, which may not be appealing to potential employers.
Put it this way: What kind of contract would Daniel Murphy be looking at if he accepted the Mets qualifying offer last season?
But the question is if the Mets want him to grab the QO. Remember $17.2 million is a large chunk of change which may curtail the club from making other moves and they do have Jose Reyes, T.J. Rivera, and Wilmer Flores to play second if Walker goes elsewhere.
Alderson said the Mets would “love” to have Walker back, but hasn’t spoken to his representatives. Of course, he will say that since Walker is definitely a fallback option if Cespedes doesn’t return.
In other news, the Mets reinstated righthanders Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler from the 60-day disabled list. Harvey is recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, while Wheeler is coming back from Tommy John Surgery.
The General Managers’ Meetings continue until through Wednesday.