The prolonged availability of Yoenis Cespedes on the free agent market has apparently drawn some bargain hunters. Jon Heyman reports (links to Twitter) that the Mets and Braves both have had at least some level of interest in an communication with the All-Star outfielder. New York is said to be willing to put together a two or three-year deal, per Heyman, while it’s not clear what Atlanta might be inclined to offer. The White Sox have previously been said to have interest that stops at three years. As I noted in the linked post, a big AAV and an early opt-out could be an interesting scenario, though Cespedes is still likely to exhaust all possibilities of a deal more commensurate with his big-time earning power after an MVP-caliber season.
Here are some more notes on an outfield market that has shown increased movement in recent weeks:
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Braves would have to move an outfielder in order to sign Cespedes now that Hector Olivera is in the outfield. Moving Ender Inciarte, in theory, could make room for Cespedes as a stopgap of sorts in center field, he further tweets, though Atlanta would need to trade yet another outfielder once Mallex Smith is ready for a look in center (thereby shifting Cespedes to a corner spot).
- Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves do indeed have some interest, though they’re only interested in a short-term pact as well. Bowman notes that even if Cespedes were to get to the point where he considered accepting a one- or two-year deal — an unlikely scenario — Atlanta would need to clear payroll in order to facilitate the acquisition. Asked by one of his Twitter followers about the odds of Atlanta striking a deal with Cespedes, Bowman likened them to the chances of winning the Powerball (Twitter link). While Bowman is clearly having some fun with that tweet, the fact that he is more or less dismissive of the entire notion is telling.
- Rosenthal also reports (links to Twitter) that the Mets have received no indication from Cespedes’ agents that he’s willing to take a short-term deal. Cespedes remains committed to securing a longer-term deal — a concept to which the Mets have reportedly been averse all offseason long.
- Several industry sources tell Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that they still expect Cespedes to take down a big contract. He traces the hold-up at the top of the outfield market to the standoff between Chris Davis and the Orioles.
- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Cardinals, White Sox, and Angels at times this winter, Heyman notes (Twitter links). (The team has also been contacted by the Nationals and Giants, both of which have since added outfielders.) We’ve heard recently, though, that Los Angeles probably can’t take on that kind of salary and has not spoken recently with Colorado. And Heyman says that the “sticking point” with the O’s has been that team’s unwillingness to part with young righty (and Colorado native) Kevin Gausman.
- FOX Sports has a series of posts today regarding outfielders. Ken Rosenthal and Dave Cameron take opposing sides on the question whether the Cardinals ought to focus on adding an outfield upgrade. Rosenthal explains that the Phillies probably won’t make a value play for Justin Upton, in large part because their second-round pick is a valuable part of a talent-acquisition strategy. And Jon Morosi says that this year’s winter’s market for outfielders has gone in unexpected directions.
As a Mets fan, my interest in Cespedes would stop at two years. It’s not about what he did for us, but what he would do.
He has his drawbacks, the two big ones being a low OBP and poor CF defense. But his power changes the dynamic and structure of a lineup. To get his bat in his age 30-31 seasons with no future commitments would be a coup for the Mets.
Meanwhile I’m just hoping Bastardo comes to Queens
Yes, but he’s only a CF for one year, and then a significant upgrade to Grandy after that. Or if Conforto ends up being a bust.
I don’t get why Davis wouldn’t take that deal. Makes no sense but Boras rarely does, but the way the past few off seasons have gone, teams seem to be better at sticking to their guns. I don’t think Boras will be able to get Attanasio to bail him out again this year.
@ ilikebaseball: Boras is the closet thing to devil in relation to Major League Baseball.
No Todd the Dodgers are the closest thing to el Diablo. Except they can’t win anything, and fail to make impact trades. They are really effective at collecting prospects, spending money, and having numerous former gm’s help them spend more money. I really don’t understand why they still have so many old players, considering the prospects they have? I have been wondering for a couple years when they will get rid of Crawford, either, Ellis, and then they get even older with utley, McCarthy, kazmir, and Howell. Adrian Gonzalez isn’t getting any younger.
The Braves could always get creative in moving an outfielder while adding legit talent to the farm system.
Something like Inciarte for Tim Anderson and Spencer Adams could be fun.
Or they could go for the home run and try to deal Inciarte, Freeman and a bad contract for a lot of talent + salary relief.
Inciarte, Freeman and Swisher for Aj Reed, Bregman, Tyler White and Michael Feliz
That’s a little much to give up
I agree. I am all for making a huge trade with Inciarte and Freeman, but need Springer .
Absolutely agree with getting Springer if Freeman is involved. And why Bregman with Swanson and Albies? I know middle-infield talent is gold, but let’s focus on other areas if trading our most valuable assets.
Freeman still under team control for six years. Inciarte for 5. I would keep them both if I were Atlanta because of the amount of team control and the fact they have both performed in the majors.
They probably told FF to put up with a couple horrendous seasons and in the last 3-4 years have the chance to play for a legit contender once that farm system graduates its prospects.
I agree. Why trade two young, controllable players who have proven they can play at the MLB level. I would only do it if they were blown away with almost MLB ready and as close to sure thing there can be prospects. And why would they even kick the tires Cespedes? Doesn’t make much sense. Wait a few more years and spend the money on a younger Cespedes level free agent in 2017. I’ve already accepted they are going to be awful for the foreseeable future. Why waste money now?
@ chri, mjames1273: I agree keep both Incairte/Freeman and hope the prospects traded for are what’s hoped for. It would make for a few good years 2018-2021.
Agreed, but I imagine the interest is only foreshadowing a prolonged holdout and possible eventual bargain. Markakis was frowned upon in the MLB establishment, especially after everyone learned about his neck surgery, but ATL still believes it got a good deal. Already in his first year, he had the 4th most hits for an OF – and that’s with no spring training – albeit no power. His arm and power should improve in 2016, but you can’t teach contact to hitters.
I would surprised if Inciarte and Freeman are included in the same deal, as both have been publicly stated that they would need to be blown away by an offer. I would love to see Springer in a Braves uniform if both of those pieces are moved, which would obviously have implications on Markakis, Olivera.
That’s a horrible deal for the White Sox
Quit it, that is a ridiculous low and insulting return for the Braves
I don’t see the White Sox dealing both Anderson and Adams this offseason. That would set back the farm system years
Wilson, Bedrosian, and Cron (and 10-12 million to cover Wilson’s contract for Cargo/Blackmon)
never mind i forgot about Wilson’s no trade clause
And isn’t he pitching for s new contract this year? I doubt he’d want to do that in Colorado.
As a mets fan, my interest in Cespedes ends after two years.
His power changes the dynamic of a lineup (and affects how other hitters are pitched to) but his poor CF defense and low OBP make me wary of a long term deal.
But to get his bat in his age 30-31 seasons would be a huge coup for the Mets IMO
In the meantime I’m just hoping the Mets could make a run at Bastardo.
Not that our in house options are bad, but they are unproven and it would be nice to have another proven MLB pitcher in the pen.
IF he was willing to take a two year deal , there would be a lot of teams willing to take him on, including my Tigers.
Good point. I think any team that thinks it can contend the next two years would want him.
In the meantime, I just want my Mets to go after Bastardo. Our in house bullpen options aren’t bad, just unproven. Would like another proven arm in that pen
If Cespedes has “big-time earning power” why has he not signed a big time deal yet?
There is obviously something about him, his game, etc that is making teams shy away from a long term deal big dollar deal with him.. Is he and his agent simply over-rating his value based on a hot two months since his trade from Detroit?
@ tigerdoc616: It raises a flag to me a player of his caliber being traded 3 times in 1 year….
The trades were probably spurred by Cespedes’ impending free agency, with two of the deals being consummated at the summer trade deadlines of 2014 and 2015.
The first deadline trade was a huge mistake, in hindsight, by Bill Beane which crippled the A’s offense down the stretch, for more top of the rotation pitching for an expected deep postseason run that never materialized following their one game exit in the wild card game.
The second deadline deal was made by a Tiger team conceding the 2015 season, along with the trade of David Price to Toronto, for a needed infusion of youth into their system.
The middle trade from Boston last offseason probably had more to do with the Red Sox abundance of OF’s and their need for more starting pitching.
Agreed, there’s no red flags there. The only red flag might’ve been Boston, who dealt him because of pitching but also because he was having a hard time adjusting to the Green Monster. But that’s not the type of flag that means he’s going to be terrible or is a huge risk.
I’d go 4 years and not above 100 million if I were the mets. Then have 3 option years at a reasonable salary if he showed continued success.
No hitter in their prime/back end of their prime is signing a deal with 3 option years at “reasonable salary”. At best, they might be willing to take an option year with another year being a vesting clause that becomes a player option upon vesting, or a team/mutual option if he doesn’t vest.
White Sox need to FIRE VENTURA, WILLIAMS, AND HAHN NOW!!!!
Why? Its not really their fault players go to die on that side of Chicago
Players go to die on that side of town….I forgot the Cubs killed Edwin jacksons career. Can’t expect to sign aging FA’s and not expect regression. White sox front office guessed wrong multiple times. Layercake quit trying to troll.
Which Chicago team has won a World Series in the last 100 years?
Thats a good one. So original
Cards need to make a move badly. But the longer they go, the cheaper the talent gets. Great time to be a pitcher and not a position player. It looks like the days of the payday at 30 are over. Too many bad deals over the past.
Trade Markakis because you can have smith and Incarte as your 1,2 hitters and trade swisher somehow get Cespedes or J Up and there’s your outfield but sign one of them for like 5 years they will b there through a year or 2 of bad there were loaded
Cannot trade two out of three biggest contracts without cost controlled players like Inciarte or Teheran.
We don’t need to trade Bourn or Swisher… Just wait for two years and their contracts are gone. But I do agree that they should not sign Cespedes. They should wait out the market and sign Upton. An outfield of Inciarte, Upton, and Markakis (and later Smith) is pretty good. Then bolster their rotation and bullpen after this season. Swanson and Albies will both be in the starting lineup (at SS and 2B) in 2017. And Wieters, Perez and Grandal are all FA catching opportunities. Trade some high ranking prospects for Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi and sign Jhoulys Chacin. With a starting rotation of Sean Newcomb, Chris Archer, Aaron Blair, Jhoulys Chacin, and Odorizzi/Teheran and a starting lineup consisting of 1. Smith 2. Inciarte 3. Swanson 4. Freeman 5. Upton 6. Grandal/Wieters/Perez 7. Albies 8. Olivera 9. Pitcher, the Braves would be quite impressive.
Not that I don’t like that scenario, but that is a bit Fantasy Baseball lineup constructing. Good thing is Bourn and Swisher are gone after this year. But I do think we need to work on a true Ace, do not think Julio has it in him.
This doesn’t make any sense. ATL already signed Chacin to a minor-league deal, but with all that young talent, he needs to throw his arm off to earn a spot after midseason if any of Sims, Newcomb, Blair are ready. Even then, you’re stunting the maturity of your prospects for a one-and-done minor-league player that on his best day you might get a top-300 prospect in return at the Trade Deadline. Then you want to trade some of this talent for young pitching from TB, which will cost a premium?? The whole reason we’ve sold our stars for young high-end pitching prospects is to avoid those exact scenarios, where we’re on the other end of Shelby Miller-like trades. TB has no reason to sell Chris Archer, signed to a nice deal, without a king’s ransom – and ATL shouldn’t be that. And could we please not bring in an older, overpaid catcher with knees problems and a laundry list of health issues (i.e. Wieters)? We’ve drafted Kolby Allard’s catcher for a reason – to go with a couple of others that could be our next catchers. Tyler Flowers is great with young pitching and is signed to a 3-year deal. He shouldn’t be a starter, but he’ll be a good bridge that Pierzynski was supposed to be. And I can tell you that Upton will not be in ATL unless he’s willing to accept a 1-2 year deal. He’s the epitome of what was wrong with Wren’s Braves and what they’ve been trying to get away from. Let’s move on from anyone named Upton, including Kate.
The Braves need to clear payroll? What the hell have we been doing?
Swisher and Bourn are off payroll in ’17. Only contracts we pay over $10M are Markakis ($33/3) and Freeman ($120/6).
Won’t never happen
We can always hope they are making somewhat smarter decisions
I’m an Angels fan, I’m sick of Arte Moreno’s. He has a “pet peeve” for not wanting to pass the luxury tax threshold. LAA is a big market just like NY and BOS, do it just once Arte come on. Cespedes, Upton, Cargo any of those guys would be a great addition. So far Nava and Gentry aren’t gonna get it done.
The season hasn’t even started, and you have already called it a failure.
If the Angels were Cespedes, Upton or Cargo away from serious contention, I’m sure he would. But the Angels need a lot more help than one of those three.
They are in contention already. Which is why Arte doesn’t feel like spending. He feels this is good without needing to reach the tax. Along with holding onto the money for the 2018 free agent class.
They are, but so is every other team (except maybe the Phillies, Braves, Reds and Brewers since they are all rebuilding). I should’ve been more clearer but by serious contention I meant that they are a piece or two away from truly competing for a championship. The Angels are close, but they need a lot more help than just Upton/Cespedes/Cargo from contending.
@JT19, I think what @Diablo meant was last season the Angels made it all the way to game 162 in contention. As Angel fans we had to watch a LF platoon of David Murphy, David DeJesus,
Exactly. I fell like if we could have gotten a player instead of that horrible platoon, it would have made a difference. And it can’t be good for morale either when the team knows it needs something, but it doesn’t happen.
You’re sick of that…
Try being a mets fan.
Sign him Mets.2 or 3 years wouldn’t bankrupt the Wilpons,and their fan base would be ecstatic
Could it be that after so many years of free agency and rising salaries, that most teams have filled their roster and budget, and the luxury tax threshold has been effective? It’s now become a game of musical chairs. This year there were more big dollar free agents than there were teams with spots for them. All the articles are focus on the player and what they are worth (in a perfect world). I have not seen one article that examines the projected budgets of teams and then looks to see what the Market can bear. How many teams can still afford to take on a 20+MM contract and stay on budget?
No not a failure anything can happen but couple of years and could b a good long run
Cardinals wont do it, they just dont wanna give up talent like that, especially for question-mark type players (Coors effect, injuries, etc.).
So sign Cespedes already, doesn’t cost a draft pick. 3 or 4 years around 66 million for 3 or 88-90 for 4. Holliday will be gone after year and put Piscotty at 1st and move Cespedes after the season back to left field and piscotty to right. Face it don’t get an outfielder this year and you miss out because there isn’t one next year.
Cards 1 year pillow for Cespedes would be about it
I really wish Davis and Cespy or Upton are willing to sign for a huge 2 year deal. Maybe than Arte is willing to sign these guys. It would be neat to sign Davis for 1B and Upton or Cespy for LF. lol
Braves fans keep trying to say packaging Swish with Inciarte or Freeman or Teheran is a good idea.
Does anyone expect the 2016 Braves to be a World Series team? I didn’t think so. Why should Atlanta trade a player who is in the last year of a overpriced contract by give up parts of their future? I don’t understand that logic. If Swish or Bourn rebound they could even lead to prospects or a draft pick (doubtful I know.) Any current deal would destroy any real value, especially on a Inciarte deal.
I love the idea of a Smith/Inciarte/Markakis outfield. It’s lots of contact and good defensively. Let Swanson develop into a middle-of-the-order-guy and help Olivera develop so he can be shipped off for a big haul when Mallex is ready. I am fully confident that Swanson is going to outpace the rate that people expect him to develop.
Good point RD but we need some pop to protect Freddie so they pitch to him we need a bomber man and if we can unload Markakis 11 mil a year just sign Cespedes or J Up u got a speedster with power for a few years and can put Olivera back at 3rd later trade him and start looking better this year. Swisher I’d just say hey 5 mil or even 3 mil will pay the rest take him
I’m a Mets fan and I totally agree with you. If there’s one team that the fan base just has to realize that the front office knows what it’s doing its Atlanta.
I’ve said this from the go, Mets need to offer Cespedes 30-32 mil for 1 year with a NTC and see if he bites. He gets his money, Mets get one more shot with him as their premier power bat at the WS.
The Mets do make the most sense. All they give up is money. Their owner needs to smarten up.
Cespedes has had 4 teams in 2 yrs. Why would that not make owners think anything beyond 2-3 years is a stretch? His agent is, of course, pushing for more time which just serve to raise suspicion. Owners should talk with Arte Moreno who gave disastrous long term contracts to Gary Mathews, Vernon Wells and josh Hamilton if they are in any way doing the same for Cespedes. They can learn how long term contracts can hamper a team’s progress downstream.
2YR/70MM (28, 29)
➕ (performance option additional
5YR/105MM) (30 – 34)
(2YR: combined ➕ .800OPS & 500TB)
apparently, they’re talking a 1-2 year deal
What makes this off season very complicated is that
Brewers: Braun / Davis
Rockies: Cargo / Blackmon / Dickerson
Braves: Enciarte / Markakis / Bourn
there are teams that would trade their outfielders
if the right package comes along as well
Free Agents: Cespedes / Upton / Fowler
Not that these guys are bad but some teams are probably thinking that
it may be wiser to trade for one of the guys above who are owed less money
Interesting to see how everything plays out but
I doubt these guys will get the pay checks they initially thought they’d get.
Wonder if Yeonis would be interested in a seven year 105 Million offer from the Braves with an opt out each year after 2018.
Seems like a decent offer, but I don’t want ATL to do that. All signs are pointing to Cespedes further deteriorating and his contact and defense are getting worse. Yes, he had a great run into the playoffs with NYM, but that was a flash-in-the-pan. ATL needs to stay away from any commitments past 3 years until 1/1/2017, when the money starts rolling in – according to Braves CEO Terry McQuirk. We didn’t win the lottery, so let’s not go out and get a Bentley just yet (not that Cespedes is a Bentley, if he was he’d be a 2001 model).
The only way cespedes remotely even sorta makes for the braves is if they dealt Olivera, swisher, bourn, and markakis. Even then it’d be a stretch. Braves don’t need that kind of money tied up in declining players over 30 years old.
Definitely not 4 OF’s logjamming our younger guys. I’d rather see Inciarte, Mallex and Kelly Johnson in the OF
If the turn into a bargaing ,both Cespedes or Upton would both be an insanely great fit for the Indians lineup….
How did Upton->Phillies ever have legs? I don’t see any significant FA worth sniffing at for them until 2018 when there is the possibility of a few guys being available… if they aren’t extended: Machado, Harper, McCutchen, Harvey and Fernandez. But I doubt any of them reaches FA.