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As expected, Yoenis Cespedes reportedly exercised the opt-out clause in his contract on Saturday, making the two-time All-Star a free agent. The Mets have not confirmed the move.

Cespedes had until 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday to notify team officials he planned to opt out of his three-year, $75 million contract, which he signed last winter. His doing so was considered a formality, as he stands to be one of the most-coveted players in a thin free-agent market after an excellent first full season with the Mets.

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Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530, with 31 home runs and 86 RBIs in 132 games in 2016. In 189 games with New York since being acquired at the 2015 Trade Deadline, Cespedes hit .282/.348/.554, with 48 home runs and 130 RBIs, becoming a bona fide star in the process.

Cespedes became one of the most productive Trade Deadline acquisitions in baseball history by hitting 17 home runs down the stretch in 2015 for a Mets team that made it to the World Series. After initially seeking a contract in excess of $100 million, Cespedes signed a significantly smaller deal with New York in January that included an opt-out clause after Year 1, essentially guaranteeing he’d test the market again, barring injury.

Cespedes did miss 30 games in 2016, due to a variety of leg injuries, but was extremely productive when on the field. Known as a notoriously free swinger for much of his career, Cespedes set career highs in walks (51) and on-base percentage (.354), while reaching the 30-homer plateau for the second time in as many seasons.

The Mets were 74-58 with Cespedes in the lineup this season, and just 13-17 without him. They are expected to attempt to resign him. This winter, though, they also expect much more competition for his services.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Source: Mets News / Cespedes reportedly opts out of contract