Mets need to follow up Cespedes contract with another mega-deal

So Yoenis Cespedes is back. Sandy Alderson managed to get the Cuban slugger to agree to a favorable deal for the second straight season on Tuesday afternoon. The GM should be applauded for working out the four-year, $110 million deal, wisely spending the Mets’ money to put the 2017 team back in a strong position to compete for a World Series.

But after years of rebuilding the organization, counting pennies and pinching payroll, some are pointing to this single deal as a sign that the Mets are back to being the big-market team they were before Alderson arrived.

But are the free-spending Mets really back? Let’s just wait a minute and see what happens next.

Re-signing Cespedes was a huge step to being a contender once again, but it was also absolutely necessary.

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The 31-year-old left fielder is the key to the Mets’ hefty plans for 2017, and Alderson and his front office made that their main focus once the season was over. We have to admire how Alderson and his staff managed this deal. They used the leverage of Cespedes’ comfort in New York and with team staff to work out the contract. It’s a deal that both Cespedes, who will earn the highest annual average value for an outfielder ever, can be comfortable with.

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Yoenis Cespedes signed a four-year, $110 million deal with the Mets on Tuesday.

(Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

It’s a deal that Alderson and the Mets are comfortable with, as well. Concerned about going too long on a deal with Cespedes, they held him to four years. He will be only 34 years old when the contract expires. While the Mets gave him the highest AAV they have ever offered a free agent, it’s still a deal that Alderson can manage their payroll around.

The $110 million is a significant investment in winning. And that the Mets, who were often maligned as cheap as recently as 2014, were able to land the top free agent on the market is certainly a sign that they are trying to get back in contention.

Though Cespedes was the key to the team’s winter plans, he is not the answer to all their issues going into next season. So, let’s wait and see the 2017 bullpen before we decide.

Noah Syndergaard, Mets players thrilled about Cespedes deal

The Mets knew they needed bullpen help if they are going to make a serious run at the World Series even before Jeurys Familia was arrested for assault in a domestic violence incident last month. Now, with the possibility of Familia facing a significant MLB suspension — regardless of whether New Jersey prosecutors proceed with the charges — the Mets desperately need to bulk up that bullpen.

So, let’s see how they address it.

Those big-spending, big-market teams of the past would look at the loaded rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler that the Mets expect back healthy in 2017 and the lineup built around Cespedes and go out and get a top-end reliever to close the door.

Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen are available for a big-money deal to step in and be the Mets closer going forward, and the team could just let Familia’s situation play out as it may.

Yoenis Cespedes returning to Mets on 4-year, $110M deal

Times have changed since the days the Yankees were the spendthrifts, and the Mets have shown that even out from under their past financial issues they are going to be more “creative” with their payroll under Alderson’s regime.

Sandy Alderson (l.) can bring Jeff Wilpon's Mets back as a big-money team with another Cespedes-like signing.

Sandy Alderson (l.) can bring Jeff Wilpon’s Mets back as a big-money team with another Cespedes-like signing.

(Julie Jacobson/AP)

With Cespedes due to make $22.5 million in the first of his four-year, $110 million deal, the Mets’ payroll obligations for next season are already at $100.9 million on just eight players. The Mets plan on keeping their payroll around $140 million, team sources said.

Last January, Alderson had the financial flexibility to bump up his payroll when the opportunity to sign Cespedes arose. So if the Mets are serious about this statement, he should have that same ability to add payroll above that $140 million budget with a reliever this winter, as well. 

Alderson’s work, therefore, is not yet done.

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He now has to try and turn his surplus in the outfield, Jay Bruce most likely, into a reliever, or pick up a second-tier reliever at the end of the winter and work with what they have. The Mets also see Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo as possible cheap fixes for the bullpen. There are certainly some cheaper options than Chapman or Jansen out there that could improve the bullpen.

But if the Mets want to be considered fully back from their days of scrimping and saving, they could make a statement with another big signing.

So we now know that Cespedes is back, but let’s wait before we declare the Mets back.

new york mets
yoenis cespedes
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