He obviously read the market right. I thought for sure that it would take a fifth year to sign Yoenis Cespedes with the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants looming. I thought for sure that the fifth year was going to be the difference between the winner of the Cespedes Derby and the also rans. Turns out it was the extra money and the no trade clause that cinched the deal for the Mets as they have brought him back for four years at $27.5 million per. Sandy’s gamble that four years would get it done … a gamble I wouldn’t have taken (and I’m a recovering degenerate gambler) … paid off. But what Sandy did which was right and which wasn’t a gamble was not fool around. He signed Cespedes last year on January 26th after Alderson let the market set itself. This year, Sandy was proactive and got it done before December, which was all I really wanted. If Alderson had let the market set itself, maybe the Giants have more time to decide that they could afford the big money for him and still go and get a reliever. But in hindsight, the market was in the Mets’ favor. Consider that the four teams mentioned as potential Cespedes suitors besides the Mets: The Giants, Nationals, Dodgers, and Yankees.
- The Yankees, I don’t think, were ever a serious player. They now have enough young kids to get them through the next two years and still contend, while shedding a boatload of salary in preparation for 2019, when Bryce Harper becomes a free agent. I’m confident enough to write in pen that Harper will be a Yankee in 2019.
- The Dodgers spent a billion in player salaries and were under mandate to stop spending money like they were Yoenis Cespedes at Major World.
- The Nationals already have a pretty crowded outfield, and there didn’t seem to be any evidence that their offer wouldn’t still contain a lot of deferred money, as it did last season.
- The Giants have a hole in left field, and they still might go bonkers and acquire an outfielder. But I guess all their money is earmarked towards fixing a bullpen that was more hazardous to your health than expired yogurt.
It was the Astros, apparently, who made the biggest push besides the Mets for Cespedes. But my guess is that they would have had to pay Cespedes at least $30 million a year to get him to leave. And while I’ve never been to Houston, I’ve never spoken to somebody who has been there that has told me they loved it there. Now, it’s small sample size, but the percentage of my focus group that tolerate Houston is 0%. And again, Sandy put in the extra cash early in the proceedings to get it done. And while it wasn’t the extra year I expected, Alderson stepped up to the plate and took the other teams out of contention before they decided to go back in.
As for Cespedes, the parallels continue which will ultimately make him this generation’s Keith Hernandez. Both came in midseason trades. Both were convinced to re-sign with the Mets with the help of the promise of a great young pitching staff. Both have larger than life personalities. Both will wind up anchoring the lineup in the three hole. And now Cespedes has a chance to cement that legacy in the next four years by leading the Mets to a title. Just like Keith did. (Then of course, he’ll retire and join the Mets broadcast booth and say “jeez” and complain about the pace of play every other inning.)
As for the Mets, now they can concentrate on “what’s next?” Well first, a lockout might be next, unfortunately. But after that hypothetically happens, there’s a trade of Jay Bruce to worry about. Maybe a trade to shore up the bullpen. (David Robertson?) Perhaps a catcher. (Wilson Ramos?) Maybe the Mets somehow pull off Dexter Fowler in center field (Jon Jay signed with the Cubs to effectively take Dexter’s spot in Chicago). But whatever happens or doesn’t happen, the most important first step has happened. Yoenis Cespedes is back, with no opt-out clause in sight. Good on the Mets and good on Cespedes and his love for New York for getting this done. It took a lot of dollars, but it’ll all be worth it when it’s all said and done.
I hope my ticket plan deposit was of some help.
Okay, maybe that had a little more to do with it.