Well it’s finally arrived. The moment that Mets fans have been dreading since the team signed Cespedes was signed last January. It came as a wonderful surprise last winter when the Mets signed Ces to a 3 year deal with an option to opt out after the first year. Mets fans were so overjoyed they could care less that a New York winter was dumping over a foot of snow on everything they loved. Cespedes was back in New York, and we were ready to make another run at the World Series. “But the opt out option?” “Let’s not worry about that now! It’s January! Yay! Snow!”
Cut to 11 months later. Cespedes has now officially decided to become a free agent. It’s torturing Mets fans more than the snow plow that buried their car until March. Cespedes is going to get paid. Big time. The question is whether or not the Mets will be the team that pays him. Cespedes is most likely going to be looking for a 5 or 6 year deal somewhere in the area of $100 million. He’s done nothing but put up big numbers and push the Mets towards success since they acquired him in the summer of 2015. It seemed like Alderson is hesitant to give Cespedes that long expensive contract due to his age (31) and how often he can be prone to injury. Ces has made it clear several times though, that he loves to play in New York and would like to stay a Met if possible. As much as I would love to believe he’s the type of guy to stick around just for the love of being a Met, he’s not going to do that if not for the right price. He’s not Wilmer Flores.
The easy answer here of course, is to just spend that big money and take the risk on keeping him for 5 or 6 years in hopes that he can continue to perform well even as he ages. This is where I can share Alderson’s concern. The Mets have a stellar rotation but need a little kick to their offense. Something that Cespedes certainly provides for them. However, I’m not a fan of throwing big money at one player in hopes that he can continuously carry a team to the post season. The Mets have some great young players coming up. Nimmo, Cecchini, Rivera, all gave us a little taste of what they are capable of doing this past September. I’d rather have them invest in their young talent and develop those players as oppose to signing that one big bat. You’ve heard it plenty of times this season, that the Mets relied on the long ball to win their games. That’s great. But when the home runs aren’t flying, the Mets struggled to put up points and at times win games. Nimmo and Rivera are guys that put the ball in play. Singles and doubles. Getting on base and getting those runs in when it counts.
You can look at what the Cubs did as well. Bringing up their young talent, while still signing big names like Heyward and Zobrist. But it was still players like Addison Russell and Kris Bryant that would come through in the clutch. Mets fans, like most New Yorkers want that quick fix to get them where they need to go. But you can’t just have that big bat and hope the rest works out. The Mets pitching staff is so great because those were all young players that the Mets were helping develop within their farm system.
So let’s say the Mets go that route of not resigning Ces. They’ve already picked up the option to keep Bruce. And while most Mets fans may not be overjoyed with that decision, Bruce is still someone who can be that big bat for this team. His numbers weren’t great after coming to the Mets. He was hitting just .219 with a slugging percentage of just .391. I’m going to give Bruce the benefit of the doubt here and say this drop in his average is mostly due to the pressure of being trader to a big market city like New York in the middle of the season, and expecting to be that savior that Cespedes was the year before.
I’d like to hope that starting things off with the Mets next season we’ll be seeing more of those numbers that he was putting up in Cincinnati.
It’s going to be a busy off season for the Mets. I would hope for the teams sake if they do plan on surprising us all with a big Cespedes signing it’s done sooner rather than later.