Mets: The latest on Yoenis Cespedes


Cespedes’ market shifted again when the Orioles re-signed Chris Davis

The Orioles have signed Chris Davis to a seven-year deal worth $160 million, meaning their flirtation with Yoenis Cespedes is almost certainly over — though Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun says the O’s could be open to a deal with Cespedes for two years or less.

Baltimore had reportedly made a contract offer to Cespedes worth $90 million over five years, and Jesse Sanchez of reported that Cespedes had been weighing that offer against returning to the Mets on a one-year deal.

With the Orioles now likely out of the picture, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweeted that the Mets and White Sox are open to signing Cespedes to a shorter-term deal.

While it’s been reported that the Mets don’t have an official offer out to Cespedes, multiple reports have indicated they’d be willing to offer between one and three years. And Kevin Kernan of the New York Post said the Mets could go as high as three years and $60 million.

Additionally, Mike Puma of the New York Post said that while he wouldn’t portray the feeling of Mets brass regarding a Cespedes return as “optimistic,” they believe the situation is starting to get interesting.

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Regarding the current outfield market, Alex Gordon recently signed a four-year deal with the Royals and Denard Span agreed to a three-year deal with the Giants. Justin Upton, who is similar offensively to Cespedes and two years younger, may be willing to sign for one year, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. That would allow Upton to hit the market next year, when the free agent outfield crop will be basically barren.

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Of the teams who have been linked to Cespedes (with the Royals, Giants, and perhaps the Orioles now out of that market), the Rangers reportedly will only go as high as one year and the White Sox only as high as three.

It didn’t seem like a coincidence that Baltimore’s interest in Cespedes and unhappiness with Davis leaked on the same day. And their agreement with Davis proves that it was likely a ploy. Either way, it was very hard to see Cespedes agreeing to a deal that would’ve paid him just $18 million per season, regardless of how many years it was for.

As far as the Mets are concerned, I noted last week that they were displaying faulty logic as it pertains to Cespedes, with GM Sandy Alderson likening the 30-year-old outfielder to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole — something they’re already doing with Alejandro De Aza.

At the time, Alderson was alluding to the possibility that Cespedes would get a deal worth five or six years. At this point, though, it seems much more likely Cespedes will have to settle for a deal for four years or fewer.

If the Mets really are willing to go as high as three years and $60 million for Cespedes and/or present him with a one-year offer worth up to $22 million, it’s not crazy to think they have a decent shot at retaining him. Even if the Orioles offer to bringing Cespedes in for one or two years, that seems unlikely if you believe that he was weighing a five-year offer from them against a one-year deal with the Mets.

As is noted above, Cespedes’ market seems less than robust, and teams who have been interested in his services keep filling their needs elsewhere.

Perhaps a team who hasn’t been linked to Cespedes will emerge and offer the huge deal he desires, but the chances of that happening seem to dwindle with each passing day.

The Mets’ offseason has been underwhelming, and re-signing Cespedes would transform it to an overwhelming success while making their lineup a hell of a lot more formidable.

If brought back on a deal longer than two years, the Mets could play Cespedes in center field until 2018, and then either shift him to right field (he’d have to be open to the move) or move Michael Conforto from left field to right field.

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But 2018 isn’t something to worry about right now. The Mets, if their interest in Cespedes is actually sincere, need to step up their efforts and close the deal.