Reports: Mets Re-Sign Yoenis Cespedes

After spending most of the off-season telling anyone who would listen that they probably weren’t going to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets are reportedly on the verge of doing just that.

It seems pretty clear that Cespedes is leaving money on the table to stay in New York, as the Nationals were reportedly willing to offer more than $100 million over five years. But Cespedes joins Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist in spurning the Nationals to sign elsewhere — and with Brandon Phillips unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause, one has to wonder about why so many players keep choosing to not go to Washington this winter — and will instead stay with the Mets, presumably taking over as their regular center fielder.

For the price, it’s tough to not like this for the Mets; they get a quality player to upgrade their line-up without a significant long-term commitment. Most likely, Cespedes will use his opt-out next winter, so this might end up being more of an extended rental for the Mets; next year’s free agent class is terrible, and it’s tough to think that he won’t be able to do better than roughly 2/$50M he’ll have left on his deal. But even with the opt-out, the low total cost makes this too good of a price to pass up for New York.

The question will be how well he can handle center field, however. The Mets did make the World Series with Cespedes playing between Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, but that’s going to be one of the least effective defensive outfields in baseball in 2016. The hope for the Mets is that Cespedes hits well enough that you live with the defensive limitations, and with Juan Lagares around, they’ll have the option to put out a better defensive club on days when Conforto or Granderson sit.

Personally, I think the Mets probably would have been just fine with Lagares playing center field most days, but Cespedes is a better player, and this does make the Mets a bit better for 2016. Given the low cost and the high value of additional wins — and depth — to a team with a real shot of making it back to the World Series, this is a move that they probably had to make, even if Cespedes might be a bit of an adventure in center field.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Craftcj
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Craftcj

“The Mets did make the World Series with Cespedes playing between Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, but that’s going to be one of the least effective defensive outfields in baseball in 2016.”

Conforto actually turned in outstanding defensive stats in 2015. I take it the scouting is not as optimistic about his fielding?

gbaked
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And granderson may not have an arm, but he doesn’t make many mistakes out there.

Joeys Bat Flip
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Joeys Bat Flip

Also, Cespedes had a somewhat-conspicuous error off the first pitch of the world series. Even if it’s not a fair representation, even if it’s a small sample, even if we know that Cespedes is a competent, if not above-average center fielder, it’s gotta hurt to be a Mets fan and be reminded of that for the next season or three.