ESPN's Jim Bowden believes free-agent OF Yoenis Cespedes is close to signing a new contract, though as many as 10 teams have interest in acquiring him (Jan. 17).
Meanwhile, Mets manager Terry Collins said Cespedes wants to come back to New York (Jan. 18).
"I talked to Sandy (Alderson) today, and hopefully we'll continue to move forward [in those negotiations]," Collins told Barry Bloom of MLB.com on Sunday. "I don't know where Cespedes is at contract-wise with anybody else, but I know he wants to come back to New York if he can. He's a great player and we'd love to have him back."
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The Mets have let Cespedes know that, if he's willing to take a one- or two-year deal, maybe three, at around $20 million a season, they'll talk. Otherwise, if he's still holding out for five, six, seven years, as he's been demanding all winter, then they're not interested. I think the same may be the case with most of the 10 teams rumored to be interested in acquiring him, so the Mets have more of a chance at this than it seems.
With 10 teams interested, it would seem that if someone would have offered a mega deal by now, he would have accepted it. Instead, he's still a free agent, which would suggest no one offer is above and beyond the rest of the pack. If this is the case, and he's still begging then the Mets are wise to wait. They know he wants to be in New York, and he knows their position.
It's also worth noting that anyone I have talked with in Detroit, Boston and Oakland, as well as the Mets (all teams that he's played for), I can't find anyone who thinks it would be wise to give him a long-term contract. They all love him as a hitter, but worry about what an aging, comfortable, complacent Cespedes might look like, especially in the National League without the designated hitter.
The question for Cespedes is whether he wants to take one-year deal and return to the free agent market next winter? He's coming off a career year. I don't think some Mets fans realize how uncharacteristic and rare last August was for him. He's never done that before, and certainly won't play like that over the course of seven months, let alone seven years. He's a $20 million player, no doubt. But, last season he performed like a $50 million player, which he's not.
The Tigers, who traded Cespedes to the Mets at the trade deadline last season, are showing interest (Jan. 17), as are the Astros, who have a logjam in the outfield (Jan. 17).
In addition to the Mets, Tigers and Astros, the Angels, White Sox, Braves and Phillies have all been linked to Cespedes in the last week.
Cespedes hit .291 with 35 home runs and 105 RBI with the Tigers and Mets in 2015.