It was a better love the second time around. The separation was brief, but with renewed vows equal to four more years and $110 million, the Mets and Yoenis Cespedes are again happily “married.”
It was a deal that had to get done. The Mets knew it. Cespedes knew it. His agents knew it. All of baseball knew it. There was media flak that other clubs would be lining up to offer Ces five years and $150 mil, but that never really happened. The Mets and GM Sandy Alderson worked their magic in advance of the winter meetings next week just to make sure that wouldn’t happen.
Reportedly the Blue Jays made an official offer of four years for $80 mil, and that may be the only actual offer Cespedes received, but it appears as if all of the talk that the Dodgers and Giants and Nationals and Orioles and Yankees (Cashman was just testing the waters) and others put out feelers, not offers.
The deal broke down as such: $22.5 in ’17, two years at $29 mil, and $29.5 in 2020. They could have split it up in other formulas -23, then 28, 29, and then 30 work out the same result, or just 27.5 per – but the Mets had one eye on their 2017 payroll, and one eye on payroll changes going forward.
As it is, the ’17 Mets will be paying out $115 mil to just six players – Cespedes, David Wright (20 mil), Neil Walker (17.2), Curtis Granderson (15), Jay Bruce (13), and Asdrubal Cabrera (8.25). So if there’s any doubt Sandy will be looking to move either Bruce or Grandy by spring training, possibly even Walker, just do the math.
They’re fortunate that Jose Reyes now cashes just minimum wage checks from the Mets ($507K), with the bulk of his income still generated by the Colorado Rockies. They have ten players who are in their arbitration years, and the rest of the 40-man are pre-arbitration.
With the Cespedes deal, the ’17 Mets are expected to shell out a solid $150 mil, certainly a respectable number, but they may have to push it a pinch to get to the promised land. They still should find some bullpen arms with Jeurys Familia’s status in limbo for at least the beginning of the season, and maybe trading partners will assist that.
One of the teams that could use Bruce is Baltimore. How does Bruce for a reunion with Darren O’Day sound like the foundation of a deal? Just a thought. Just a thought.
With an average annual value of $27.5, Cespedes now obviously ranks as the highest paid Met in team history (Johan Santana was the leader at $22.5). Yo is now also the highest AAV for an outfielder, second to Miguel Cabrera ($31 mil) for a position player, and seventh all-time for any player at any position. Arizona’s Zack Greinke is currently at the top of that leader board with an AAV of $34 mil-plus. Yeesh!
As every Mets fan knows, getting Ces back was ultra-important. The team’s record last year with Cespedes in the lineup was 72-54. When Ces was on the shelf, their record was 15-21.
When Cespedes return last summer from a stint on the DL, the club was 60-61. With Ces back, along with Cabrera – also a very necessary ingredient to the mix – the club went 27-14 the rest of the way and made it to that one-game Wild Card finish.
Overall since Cespedes came to the Mets from Detroit in that deal for future Rookie of the Year Michael Fullmer in 2015, the Mets are 106-74 with Ces in the lineup. Without him, 18-23. Duh!
Last year, in 132 games, Cespedes hit .280, with 31 homers, and 86 RBIS. His nearly two-year Mets career now totals .282, 48 HRs, 130 RBIs in 189 games. Were he to play all 162 games in ’17 (not, but just saying), his projections would equal 41 homers and 111 runs batted in.
Ces is an early Christmas present for Mets fans. Next week’s Winter Meetings might bring a few more ornaments for the tree.