Cespedes has, of course, greatly improved his open market value with a very good first half and an outstanding run down the stretch in New York. All told, he owns a .294/.330/.555 slash with 35 home runs in 624 plate appearances on the year.
That is all but certain to represent the most impressive platform year among soon-to-be free agent corner outfielders. There’s still plenty of competition, of course, as both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are younger and arguably have better prior overall track records. But Cespedes isn’t exactly old — he’ll turn thirty in October — and has every chance of cashing in on a significant contract right alongside those players.
All told, it’s far from surprising to hear that Cespedes hopes to get six or more seasons on his next deal. There’s ample precedent, in fact, for even more. Players like Shin-soo Choo, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth are among those outfielders who have taken down seven years (and well over $100MM) in open-market deals.
It doesn’t hurt that Cespedes is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer, while both Heyward and Upton — to say nothing of Alex Gordon and perhaps some others in the next tier of the market — will almost certainly be tied to draft compensation. That’s a relatively minor consideration at that level of the market, but could move the needle somewhat.
And, of course, Cespedes will be free to re-sign with the Mets after tweaking his deal with the team. Whether or not a return to New York is likely, the club will surely feel pressure at least to engage in a hearty pursuit of its newfound star, and that can only help his market situation.
If you’re interested in hearing a bit more on where Cespedes stands at this early stage, check out the analysis of Steve Adams and myself in a recent edition of the MLBTR Podcast.