SCOTTSDALE — Sandy Alderson isn’t planning on waiting around this winter. He arrived at the GM meetings on Monday saying he hopes to know if Yoenis Cespedes will be a Met in 2017 at least by the conclusion of the MLB winter meetings, which run Dec. 4-8.
“It’s hard to predict where things will go. Things could go quickly or things could linger. Certainly from our standpoint, between now and the winter meetings, through the end of the winter meetings would be the right time to get some of these issues resolved. But that doesn’t mean it will happen.”
Cespedes’ representatives are also here and Alderson indicated he — and several other GMs — would be talking with them. The Mets have already met once with Brodie Van Wagenen, Cespedes’ agent, before the Cuban slugger opted out of the three-year deal he signed with the Mets in January.
The Mets have also made a few preliminary inquiries to possible replacements, a team source said, but would not specify which players. A report had the Mets reaching out to Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, but, the source said, the Mets priority is Cespedes.
Monday, Alderson described Cespedes’ team as cooperative and having “some interest in working something out sooner rather than later.” He described the meetings as friendly and preliminary.
“He knows we are still interested in having him back. We expressed that to him,” Alderson said. “I think there are reasons for subsequent discussions.”
Mets holding out plenty of hope for Cespedes.
Monday the Mets made $17.2 million qualifying offers to Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker. In Cespedes’ case, it was a formality. He would have made $23.7 million in 2017 under the contract he had with the Mets. The offer will just ensure the Mets receive a draft pick as compensation if Cespedes signs with another team.
Cespedes and Walker have until 5 p.m. Monday to accept or decline the offer, with Cespedes almost certain to decline.
Last year the Mets were able to wait until late January before landing Cespedes, when the market came back to them.
They had spent just $5 million on outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who became a bench player when Cespedes came back. This year, however, the Mets have already committed to pick up the $13 million option on Jay Bruce, who will be traded if they re-sign Cespedes, the source confirmed.
Alderson knows Cespedes’ team needs time to figure out what the market for him is. Speculation is that Cespedes could get a multi-year deal worth $100 million. Alderson indicated that he has the financial ability to make a deal like that. But he admitted that would affect other areas.
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
“I wouldn’t have indicated our interest in having him back if I didn’t think we had the resources to make it possible,” Alderson said. “Do we have the resources to do everything we’d love to do, that’s a slightly different question. I am not sure anybody does.”
Alderson said he’s not exactly sure what the market for Cespedes will be. But he doesn’t plan on holding up other business too long waiting for it to emerge.
Cespedes hit .280 with 86 RBI and 31 home runs in 2016, despite playing most of the season with a right quad strain.
He almost single-handedly powered the Mets into the 2015 World Series after they acquired him in a deadline-day trade. The options to replace him could be slim, but Alderson said that’s what they are exploring this week.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re here the next three days is to answer that question,” Alderson said when asked if Cespedes is their best option.
“From a fan standpoint, from a team standpoint, from a variety of different standpoints, it’s possible, but there are always alternatives.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News