According to ESPN New York, a clause in his contract stipulates he must be released before the official start of free-agency, which begins five days after the World Series.
Multiple reports also indicate he cannot be made a qualifying offer, which means the Mets would not receive draft pick compensation if he eventually signs a contract with a new team.
What's more, according to the most recent CBA, any player released after Aug. 31 and before the start of free agency cannot sign a major league deal with that same team until May 15 of the following season.
Matthew Cerrone: In other words, if the Mets don't sign him before free agency starts, they will not be re-signing him. To be honest, I'm not sure any of this matters. I hope he's awesome and I hope he helps win this team a World Series. But, even if he does, I can't see the Mets signing him to the long-term, $15-20 million a year deal he'll be seeking. This, plus not getting draft pick compensation, is why he was able to be acquired for just two minor-league pitchers. It's still an awesome deal, because Sandy Alderson used a strength, and with money to spend, to capitalize on a unique situation. I suppose anything is possible, but I wouldn't imagine Cespedes being here next season... even if he gets this team a ring.