Yoenis Cespedes will be back with the Mets in 2017. The Cuban slugger and the Mets agreed to a record-breaking four-year, $110 million deal Tuesday afternoon, sources said, ending the suspense on his future well before the Winter Meetings.
The deal gives the 31-year-old left fielder the top average annual value (AAV) for an outfielder ever and the second-highest AAV for a position player after Miguel Cabrera. It breaks the Mets’ record for an AAV and gives Cespedes a full no-trade clause.
He will get $22.5 million in his first year, then $29 million, $29 million and $29.5 million, according to Jon Heyman.
Cespedes had walked away from $47 million in the final two years of his contract with the Mets when he opted out earlier this month, hoping to find a multi-year, mega contract this winter. He seemingly found the best deal for him right back in Flushing.
The Mets made re-signing Cespedes their main priority this winter and let the right-handed bat know that, through direct communications with his agent and also through back channel communications. They believed his relationships within the team and his comfort level playing in New York would give them the advantage, and it seemingly did.
He was reportedly talking to four teams — including the Dodgers, Giants and Nationals — and there was some concern that the Mets would be beat out by the offer of a fifth year.
Cespedes, however, was most valuable to the Mets.
Yoenis Cespedes during the 2015 World Series against the Royals.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
They desperately needed his right-handed bat back in their lineup. He almost single-handedly sparked the Mets on to their 2015 World Series run after they acquired him in a deadline-day trade from the Tigers. Last season, Cespedes hit 31 home runs and drove in 86 runs in 132 games, despite playing with a nagging right quad injury for most of the season.
That means the Mets landed their two main free-agent targets for this offseason. Re-signing Cespedes was their top priority along with re-signing second baseman Neil Walker.
But Sandy Alderson’s work is not done.
The Mets GM will now have to make room for Cespedes in the outfield and on the Mets’ payroll. Alderson will look to move right fielder Jay Bruce. The Mets had picked up his $13 million option for 2017 as a safety net in case they did not sign Cespedes, but they will try to turn him around, possibly for a back-of-the-bullpen reliever or another right-handed bat.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News