CLEVELAND — In a move that will come as no surprise to the Mets, Yoenis Cespedes plans to opt out of his contract after the World Series, according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
The move does not affect the Mets’ pursuit of Cespedes, 31, who hit .280 with 31 home runs in 132 games for them this season. But it does allow him to negotiate freely with all 30 teams this winter. Cespedes had two years and $47.5 million on his contract, which he signed in January. Team officials have refused comment on all offseason matters since the end of the season.
The Mets had little interest in Cespedes until that time, largely because they expected him to sign a nine-figure deal elsewhere. But when it became apparent that Cespedes was willing to negotiate a creative deal to remain in New York, the Mets pounced quickly.
Something similar could happen this winter, with the Mets unlikely to commit a four- or five-year deal to Cespedes. But an aggressive suitor elsewhere could quickly end the Mets’ pursuit.
Complicating matters is the Mets’ glut of corner outfielders, which includes Michael Conforto, Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce. When the Mets signed Cespedes last winter, they believed he would regularly play center field for them. But a quad injury forced Cespedes off the position, and he never returned to it. If he remains unwilling to play center, the Mets’ interest would be lessened.
Still, Cespedes has been the Mets’ most productive hitter since they acquired him at the 2015 non-waiver Trade Deadline. As a Met, Cespedes has hit .282 with 48 homers in 189 games, enchanting Mets fans with his superstar persona.
The Mets can and will offer Cespedes a qualifying offer, which will guarantee them Draft pick compensation should he sign elsewhere.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / Cespedes plans to opt out of deal with Mets