By now, everyone has had a chance to hear the most recent Yoenis Cespedes rumors. The Washington Nationals are said to be making a strong pitch for Cespedes in the form of a five-year contract, worth around $100 million according to CBS’s Jon Heyman. The Nationals have already signed fan favorite and now former Mets playoff MVP, Daniel Murphy. The two impact free agents the Mets had entering this off-season could potentially be gone to division foe.
The potential departure of Cespedes has been expected for the majority of the winter. The reality is crashing down on the team and the fans as of late. The possibility of losing Cespedes was put in the background of the excitement of the acquisition. With the 2016 season quickly approaching, the Mets are still showing interest in bringing Cespedes back. However, the terms of a return contract to Queens appear to be short lived.
In 2015 the Washington Nationals were favored to take the NL East. Unexpectedly, the Nationals struggled throughout the year and battled crucial injuries. Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon never had the chance to find a groove, and the pitching staff underachieved for the most part. This gave the surging Mets an opportunity to take the division and make a playoff run. The pieces all fell into place, and the Mets clicked offensively with a new addition in Cespedes.
The path to the Mets landing Cespedes at the deadline almost seemed too good to be true. The Detroit Tigers had run out of options with Cespedes and were forced to deal him at the trade deadline or lose him in the off-season without a compensatory draft pick. Luckily for the Mets, the suitors for Cespedes dwindled and it was a no brainer to send him to CitiField for two prospects. With a wealth of pitching in the system, the Mets did not have to surrender any untouchable prospects due to the unique contract situation.
As if this powerful addition was picked up at just the right time, the team coincidentally went on a tear. The Mets jumped passed the Nationals and never looked back. Cespedes hit 17 HRs with the Mets, and finished the season with 35 HRs and 105 RBIs. Cespedes went on a career hot streak and single handedly lead the Mets to the post season. Down in our nation’s capital, the Nationals continued to plunder.
In 2016, the chips are not going to fall perfectly for the Mets. The Nationals have made changes and improved their roster and coaching staff, while the Mets have attacked the secondary market. With the expected improvement of the Nationals and Miami Marlins, the Mets will be heavily tested in their division. The potential for a trade deadline acquisition is strong, but can a player possibly match Cespedes’s production from the past August and September?
Continuing the sobering thoughts as we approach the season, Cespedes may well be playing on that Nationals team. Losing Cespedes would be a hit to the fans, but to lose him to the Nationals is potentially devastating. If Cespedes were to sign with an American League team, would the fan base be this defensive? I would have to think that tempers would be down in New York if Cespedes were not adding to the Nationals lineup, but leaving for the Chicago White Sox.
It would appear that the Mets fan’s only hopes are in the form of an American League team like the White Sox. The Mets ownership clearly cannot be trusted in this situation. As much as everyone would like to see Cespedes in a Mets uniform come this spring, it would be just as gratifying to see him in any other uniform other than the Nationals. At that point, all will be calm and business at hand.