Love him or hate him, the days of Yoenis Cespedes are over.
You read that correctly. The Mets are not going to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes. Rumors have been swirling since the season ended on Sunday night that this was likely, but it really shouldn’t come as much surprise. Look, the monstrous homers, elite speed, cannon-like arm, and cool bat flips make Cespedes someone that Mets fans want to see wearing orange and blue long term. I get that. Sorry, but it’s just going to happen.
Cespedes posted career highs in homers (35) and RBI’s (105). He’s never hit more than 26 prior to this season. In 57 games with the Mets he posted a ridiculous .604 slugging percentage and a .942 OPS, numbers well north of previous career highs. Those numbers are highly unlikely to replicated, especially over the course of 162 games.
From mid August to mid September, Cespedes went on a white hot tear that could have made him millions in free agency. His video game like power, great speed, and solid defense were finally on a big stage in New York, for everyone to see. Outside of that month long stretch, Cespedes wasn’t really that good. He struggled in the postseason, with the exception of two or three good games (the Mets played 14 playoff games). His plate discipline is sub par; too many times he swung for the fences, failed to put the ball in play, when the Mets just needed good contact. We have seen him fail to chase loose balls in the outfield and run plays out. Some of these things are easy to overlook when you hit 450 foot home runs, but for the money he’s going to command, is it really worth it?
Speaking of his expected contract, Cespedes has already stated he wants a minimum of six years, which is risky for a player who recently turned 30. Remember minimum, it’s not crazy that he could land a seven or eight year contract (or longer, for that matter). We live in a world where Shin Soo Choo signed a 7yr/$130m pact. It’s also worthy to note Cespedes is a client of Roc Nation Sports, the same group that landed Robinson Cano a 10 yr/$240m contract not too long ago. He won’t require draft pick compensation, only adding to his appeal. This is a 5 tool player, and power bat, in an era where power is at a premium.
Theoretically, could the Mets afford him anyway?
The Mets had their highest attendance since Citi Field opened in 2009. Revenue from concessions, parking, season tickets, and sales of the most expensive seats should be up. Their blog network (Metsblog.com) has never been more profitable. The postseason home games and merchandise should bring in a little extra cash, too. There’s only about $65 million committed to players for next season (not counting arbitration eligible players). So, the Mets should have the money to afford Cespedes.
It’s still not going to happen.
Until ownership proves it’s willing to spend big, Cespedes is likely to sign elsewhere. The Mets also have four outfielders expected to receive ample playing time next year. What might be most important, is saving cash to give extensions to the young pitching staff. Losing Cespedes will be tough, but extending DeGrom, Harvey, Syndergaard, and Matz is much more important.
Thanks for the memories, Yo.