Yoenis Cespedes has been surprised with by the overwhelming manner in which Mets fans have embraced him, he told the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff on Wednesday, and the slugging outfielder is open to a return to the Mets in free agency. Cespedes called his time with the Mets thus far the best of his Major League career because of his production, the team’s overall play and the fact that as it stands, New York is playoff-bound. Cespedes revealed to Davidoff that he was the one who instructed his agents to approach the team about removing the contractual clause that would’ve only given the Mets five days to re-sign him this offseason. Cespedes admitted to Davidoff that he knew little about the Mets before being traded there, and it was news to him that the Mets hadn’t reached the playoffs since 2006. “This year will be the next time,” Cespedes confidently told Davidoff. Cespedes also spoke to Davidoff about his decision to sign with Jay-Z’s startup agency, Roc Nation Sports, last offseason, although he didn’t get into specific details about the switch.
Here’s more from the NL East…
- Former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski spoke with ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes about the trade that sent Cespedes to the Mets, providing some insight into the final day of the non-waiver trade season. Dombrowski received an 8am phone call from Mets GM Sandy Alderson expressing serious interest in Cespedes after the Carlos Gomez trade fell through, he told Edes. His response was that Michael Fulmer would be the Tigers’ top target in talks, and Alderson replied that he’d keep in touch. At 1:30pm, Dombrowski received permission from Tigers owner Mike Ilitch to go ahead with a trade only if the return included the prospects atop Detroit’s list; there’d be no take-what-you-can-get scenario. Had their price not been met, “[W]e would’ve kept him,” said Dombrowski. Alderson had been told by Dombrowski that the Tigers would need to hear definitively within 15 minutes of the deadline, as a trade involving Cespedes would need commissioner approval due to his unique contract, and the final call conceding Fulmer was (obviously) made in time to complete the swap.
- The Braves are easing Hector Olivera into things early in his big league career, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta believes that Olivera will be in a better position to succeed in 2016 after playing winter ball in Puerto Rico and benefiting from a full Spring Training, so for the time being, they’re willing to give him a couple of nights off per week as he adjusts to life as a Major Leaguer. That’s less likely to be the case following this season, when Olivera will be counted on as a key fixture in the middle of the lineup.
- Though Ruben Amaro Jr.’s tenure as Phillies GM hasn’t produced the results the organization hoped for when Pat Gillick stepped aside in 2008, former president David Montgomery believes that Amaro deserves respect for the work he put in over the years, writes Jake Kaplan of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Amaro took the blame for a good deal of the Phillies’ misfortunes, but Montgomery notes that the decision to continue acting in a win-now capacity stretched beyond Amaro. “We pushed it hard,” said Montgomery. “We were all involved in it, and I’ve said that many times, as far as trying to get one more after we got ’08. We were all in. We knew the risk. We knew the risk that when you trade your near-ready minor leaguers, there’s going to be a dip.”