Yoenis Cespedes opt-out gave him opportunity to test the free agent market again and not like last year, this does not expect to be a waiting game and the New York Mets are indeed a front runner in the sweepstakes. Not like last year, the market is not as strong for the outfielder as teams look to go in other directions.
One reliable source confirmed, the Mets are a big market team with ability to get Cespedes at a value much less than some other teams with an interest. In other words, the Cespedes market is not as intense as last off-season as organizations look for other needs when it comes to spending and for who.
With a free agent market more intense with needs on pitching, Cespedes to them is going in that other direction.
The Yankees are a team looking in on the Cespedes sweepstakes and as reported by colleague Wally Matthews, pitching is on their agenda and Chris Sale is a target. Chances of Cespedes going cross town are minimal.
And with the GM meetings concluding tomorrow in Scottsdale Arizona, the discussion has been more about the trade market rather than going the free agent route. That does not mean the Mets will stay silent with Cespedes and their offer. They reportedly still want to make their pitch and have a deal locked in prior or soon after the baseball winter meetings that take place next month.
So where does Cespedes stand with the Mets and other teams having that interest in adding the power hitting outfielder to their lineup?
More than once source confirmed that the Dodgers, Cubs, Orioles, Marlins and Nationals are teams with that interest in signing Cespedes to a deal. Though, anything over $150 million and four years is allowing the Mets to have some leverage in their quest.
In baseball economics, and as much as Cespedes adds value to their lineup, the consensus is Cespedes does not add value to their lineup and adding a viable starting pitcher is more to their needs.
The Nationals, according to sources are just exploring the Cespedes market. They are exploring a Chris Sale addition and possibly dealing right hander Gio Gonzalez with Yankees catcher Brian McCann also of interest
Of course, the Washington Nationals look at the Mets as their biggest threat to repeat as NL East champions and Cespedes reportedly was headed there in late January before the Mets stepped in and made it official.
A high ranking scout said, he expects the Mets starting pitching to be at full strength again and the Mets will need Cespedes in their lineup to be a factor. It has also been confirmed that the Mets are not sitting still and making inquiries about Jose Bautista, one of the high profiled names on the market.
Bautista is unlikely returning to the Toronto Blue Jays and a contingency plan for the Mets, and that will all play out pending the Cespedes situation and return of Jay Bruce to the lineup.
The source reiterated what Cespedes has said about his preference to remain in New York. He loves the chemistry of the Mets clubhouse and manager Terry Collins. All of that stands once again in favor of the Mets.
And very similar to last year in the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes ,as the Mets need him and he wants to stay put. The question is just how much and how many years will it take?
Either way, don’t expect this to drag on much too long with every possibility the Mets are the favorites for a Yoenis Cespedes return to Citi Field.
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