To #KeepYo or Not to #KeepYo? That is the Question.
On Saturday, Yoenis Cespedes opted out of his 3 year/$75 millioion dollar deal with the New York Mets and has elected Free Agency.
If you didn’t think this was going to happen, you’re a fucking idiot. This deal was signed with the clear intention of forcing Cespedes to make a decision. "It's a 3 year deal, where you can opt out after the first year, but we can opt out of the second." Come on. Be realistic for me, one time. Cespedes was ALWAYS going to opt out after this year. He’s gotta. Cespedes joins an outfielder free agent pool of Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Angel Pagan and Ian Desmond. If he gets cut loose in 2018, he’s in a free agent pool of Jayson Werth, Curtis Granderson, Melvin Upton, Melky Cabrera, Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez, etc. It’s better for Cespedesif he opts out now.
The Mets can resign him, so you can defintely spin this as a chance to restructure a contract with Cespedes. And they have to. The fans will revolt if they don’t. Hindsight is 20/20, and letting Daniel Murphy walk last year was, at the time, an okay decision. It was safe. The Mets took a risk, but you cannot take that risk again. You simply can’t. The fans will revolt.
So what’s Cespedes looking for? Well, lots of reports have been saying that Yo wants a minimum 5 year deal. Okay… but like… what do you want? If Cespedes wants money, we’ll be able to see that very quickly. Some teams will pay a lot for Cespedes, but if he wants to go to a contender, that’s where things will get interesting. He turned down the Nationals last year after they offered him a deal worth $100 million, but was spread out over 15 years. Cespedes wasn’t about that. My guess is that it’s about job security. Cespedes once spent two years on four teams, that’s gotta fuck with your head a little bit. If he goes to a contender, he'll have a long, happy contract. If Cespedes signs with a team in the midst of a rebuild, he'll be traded at the deadline. Cespedes has the bat to make an impact on a team in the playoff hunt, that’s what we saw in 2015. The offseason is a different beast, but that doesn't change the fact that Cespedes has a reputation as an August lightning rod. Most of Cespedes’ career can be tracked by looking at what happened at the deadline. If he stays on the Tigers in 2015, he’s forced to play Centerfield. In 2016, they sign Cameron Maybin and Justin Upton, so Cespedes would have to shift to Left or Right or to the bench in favor of J.D. Martinez. He was never going to stay on that team for very long. Same with Oakland, they would never be able to keep Yo at the price he wants.
Cespedes is an extra bat on a lot of teams. In New York he found a home, and a team where he’s the big centerpiece of the offense. He’s the guy you want at the plate in the big spots. I think Cespedes returns home to New York.…But let's say he doesn't. Where does Cespedes go? Well, NJ.com and The New York Post have some ideas. Let me tell you about how shitty those ideas are.
1) Washington Nationals
This is stop number one on the “Do You Even Watch Baseball?”Tour! Both NJ.com and The New York Post have Washington on here as heavy hitters in the possible Cespedes sweepstakes, solely based on their interest last year. Also of note, the Washington Nationals did not have Trea Turner on their Major League Club. WHERE WOULD YOU PUT CESPEDES ON THE FIELD IN WASHINGTON? THEY ALREADY HAVE A FULL OUTFIELD. You could argue that the Nats could put Turner on the infield to make room for Cespedes, but why? The kid is good in Center, has terrific speed and guess who doesn't want to play Center? YOENIS CESPEDES. Also, the Nationals are going to have to save some money coming up because Bryce "Golden Child of the District" is gonna have his payday finally come in two years. The Nats will need all of their money to keep Harper in Right field. The Nats are out.
2) Los Angeles Angels
This one is interesting. Baseball writers love talking about how good Mike Trout... mainly because Mike Trout is amazingly good at Baseball. Mike Trout has been in the league since 2012 and is already the 2nd highest rated player to ever wear an Angels uniform. This year the Los Angeles Angels were a very disappointing 74-88, their worst record since 1999. This was quite literally the worst Angel team of the new millennium, and Los Angeles is going to attempt to right the ship in 2017. That ship will set sail without Yoenis Cespedes. The Angels just recently traded for Detroit Outfielder Cameron Maybin, one of the most overlooked players in the league. The outfield is now Mike Trout in Center, Cole Calhoun in Right, and Maybin in Left. As with New York, you have no spot for Cespedes on the diamond. Cespedes could be the DH for an American League team, but the Angels would have to really trust that Albert Pujols at age 36 can take the field and play first again, a decision they won’t make until Spring Training. By that time Cespedes will be wearing someone else's jersey. LA also doesn’t lend itself to Yoenis not being traded at the deadline. They are rebuilding after an awful year. Cespedes would be a casualty of war if they were to go down in an early month. Los Angeles is out.
3) San Francisco Giants
THE GIANTS HAVE NO FUCKING MONEY THEY BOUGHT ALL THE PITCHERS AND HAVE SPENT SO MUCH ON OLD PITCHERS BEFORE THAT THEY HAVE NO MONEY ARE YOU SERIOUS?! BE REAL WITH ME ONE TIME THEY DON'T HAVE THE ROOM ON THE PAYROLL FOR A MONSTER DEAL THEY JUST SIGNED CUETO AND SHARKY THEY HAVE NO MONEY. ARE YOU DUMB? The Giants are out.
4) Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays ... make a little more sense. They need a left fielder and could use a solid DH. The AL East is the hardest division to play in, and the Blue Jays are now facing ALCS defeats two years in a row. The Blue Jays can't make it a three-peat. However, the Jays need to make a play for Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista before they move their eyes to La Potencia. That makes things a little difficult, since Cespedes is the biggest prize of this offseason. The Blue Jays would have to move quickly past Encarnacion and Bautista to get to Cespedes, and they would have to put up money that could have gone to their two big stars. It's a weird area for the Toronto front office. Do you make a move on Cespedes while pushing EE and JB out the door? No. They deserve Toronto's attention. They have earned it. Cespedes would be the fallback choice, were one or two of them walk. Toronto is out.
So where does Cespedes go? Well, I've got a couple of theories. Let's start those off with the most obvious choice:
1) Colorado Rockies
COULD YOU IMAGINE THE DAMAGE CESPEDES WOULD DO IN THIS BALLPARK AND IN THAT LINEUP!? Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Gonzalez? WHAT A FRONT FIVE. JESUS. I don't have to tell you about how far balls go out of Coors Field, so it makes sense that this would benefit both sides. The Rockies will also have some money to play around with. After spending $113 Million last year, the Colorado Rockies had a solid shot of potentially getting to the playoffs if it weren't for the implosion of their pitching staff. Cespedes would be dynamite in that park if they were to spend the cash to get him. The Rockies would be an offensive powerhouse that would be unrivaled in both leagues.
2) Seattle Mariners
Now that the Mariners have lost Nori Aoki to the Houston Astros, they have an opening in the Outfield. Enter Cespedes. Much like the Rockies before them, the Mariners were close to the a playoff spot and there’s a reason for that; they have a very good young team. When they added Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, the Mariners were a step away from being contenders. Now that Kyle Seager putting up strong numbers, and the team is playing at a higher level, it’s time to make a big move. Seattle needs one more bat, and with Cruz DH-ing and being able to play the field, it’s easy to see him and Cespedes trading off time on the diamond, while keeping both at the plate. It’s all a matter of whether or not the Mariners are willing to foot the bill.
3) New York Mets
It’s time for the Mets to dish out a big contract. The last contract they gave out was to David Wright’s 8 year/$138 Million extention. You have to give Cespedes more than that. I know, it sounds fucking bat shit, but you gotta do it. 5 years. $130 million. Simple. Easy. That breaks down to an average of $31 Million a year. Boston Red Sox Manny Ramirez numbers. Now you can front load that, which Cespedes has responded positively to in the past, or backload it, which Cespedes has responded negatively to. Either way, it gets you what you want. THE Bat. Cespedes has been the biggest bat in the lineup, he’s been reliable, and he’s been the slugger you need.
It’s time for the Mets front office to finally offer a huge contract. They are four years removed the David Wright contract and with the Big Arms going up for free agency in a few years, the Mets need to strike now, or it'll be more years of turmoil in Flushing. Even then, after all this whole Cespedes offseason, the Mets will have to put up some big bucks for their big five, when the time comes. If they can't put up the money for Cespedes, it's doubtful they'll be able to do it for deGrom, Harvey, Wheeler, Matz and Syndergaard.
With Cespedes, it all comes down to his motivation. Cespedes rides the line of being so good every play seems easy. His mistakes in the field can be glaring, and they make you want to really question his drive. In Flushing you would see two sides of Cespedes, the fun-loving power hitter who walks up to the plate with the “Circle of Life” blasting. You would also see the Cespedes who drops routine fly balls, kicks balls for extra bases, the guy who looks like he would rather be anywhere else. I think that will be the deciding moment for Cespedes this offseason. Do you want to go somewhere that has zero pressure? Where the games don’t necessarily matter? Or do you want to play important games from Day 1 to Day 172? Or do you have unfinished business in Queens? Those are the questions I’m asking myself if I’m Yoenis Cespedes.