Free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and his representatives at Roc Nation Sports have been seeking a six-year contract that will pay the slugger as much as $22MM annually this offseason, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter).
At present, the Orioles are said to have an offer on the table to Cespedes that is worth in the range of $90MM over five seasons, with a sixth-year option possibly included in that offer. While it’s a sizable sum in a vacuum, that figure is a departure from the expectations that many carried for Cespedes heading into the offseason on the heels of a monstrous .291/.328/.542 season that featured 35 homers and excellent left field defense. The asking price highlights the unlikelihood that Cespedes will alter his course and instead seek a short-term deal, as many teams have seemingly hoped. The Mets are said to have interest on a deal of one to three years in length, and the White Sox were also reported to have interest in a three-year deal for their former division-rival.
If Cespedes is to ultimately decide his best course of action is to enter the open market again next offseason — which I personally find difficult to imagine — one creative alternative would be to pursue a relatively short-term deal with an opt out after the first year of the contract. MLBTR’s Jeff Todd and I discussed that scenario for not only Cespedes but also Justin Upton on yesterday’s MLBTR Podcast. A high-annual-value deal of perhaps three years in length with a first-year opt out could prove to be a compromise between Cespedes and interested parties, although I’ll stress again that said scenario is only my own speculation.