OF Yoenis Cespedes plans to honor all three years of his current $75 million contract with the Mets, he told the Bergen Record's Matt Ehalt.
According to multiple reports, Cespedes can opt out his current deal after this season, pocket his $27.5 million from 2016 and become a free agent. Or, he can continue to play for the Mets through 2018, earning $25 million in each of his three seasons (2016-2018).
In the event he opts out, unlike last offseason, Cespedes will be eligible for a qualifying offer, which would give the Mets a compensation pick if he signs with a new team for 2017.
In 155 games since joining the Mets last summer, Cespedes is batting .292 with 42 HR and 108 RBI, while playing left and center field.
He reached 40 home runs in a Mets uniform in fewer games than anyone in franchise history.
It's hard to believe he will refuse free agency. This is going to be a very weak free agent market. He's one of the only legit, right-handed power hitters in a game that is starving for offense and entertainment. He'd be crazy to deny himself the opportunity to earn at least double the money with twice the guarantee, especially since at least seven teams with money to spend will have interest - including the Nationals, Giants and Yankees.
But, that's the thing, he's a unique cat. He loves New York. He loves the spotlight. He seems to love the attention he gets from Mets fans. He enjoys spending time and sharing his wealth with his teammates and he clearly loves the lifestyle that comes with winning in this city. I always heard he was a shrewd and savvy business guy, out for every dollar and opportunity. But, what if he isn't? I've come to see him a lot more qualitative than that, so maybe he's telling Ehalt the truth.
I mean, maybe when all is said and done, he'd rather $75 million and three years to show the world what he's about on the biggest stage possible, in New York City, and the ability to be a free agent again at 32-years-old (in two years), as opposed to landing in a lesser city, with less to offer, and less attention, while making an extra $50-70 million and locking in there through, say, 2021? It's possible. If there's a guy that might actually see it that way, I think it could be Yo!
The other option might be to do what ESPN's Adam Rubin has been suggesting, which is to rip up the current deal and simply give him the exact one again. So, Cespedes can sign a new three-year, $75 million deal, but can again opt out after this season, pocket $27.5 million from 2017 and again become a free agent in a year. Or, he can continue to play for the Mets through 2019, earning $25 million each of his three seasons. I like this idea, and hope they explore it...