10:23pm: Rosenthal says that Cespedes prefers to stay with the Mets, who are scheduled to speak with his representatives tomorrow, but is wrestling with the fact that the team is refusing even to begin negotiating dollars until Cespedes agrees to their three-year concept. It’s also still possible that other teams are participating in talks on Cespedes, says Rosenthal, though certainly all the recent public reporting has painted the picture of a two-horse race.
Given that New York is set to meet again with Cespedes’s agents, it certainly seems that the organization still has a chance to bring back their three-month star.
4:08pm: The Nationals are indeed offering five years, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes (Twitter links). Meanwhile, the Mets are standing at three years. It remains unclear to what extent any other clubs are still involved in the bidding, Rosenthal adds.
The Mets have no interest in moving past three years, say Newsday’s Marc Carig and David Lennon, and the team has not actually even reached the point of making a formal offer.
1:25pm: The Nationals are “pressing” to complete a deal with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, reports Jon Heyman (links to Twitter). The Nats are believed to be willing to offer about $100MM over a five-year term (“maybe a bit more,” Heyman adds) with some deferrals — a tactic they used in structuring Max Scherzer’s seven-year deal last winter. Heyman characterizes the talks between the two sides as serious.
Cespedes is an imperfect fit for the Nationals, who already have a crowded outfield scene (as Jeff Todd and I discussed at greater length on today’s MLBTR Podcast). Washington currently has Jayson Werth in left field, NL MVP Bryce Harper in right field and Ben Revere and Michael A. Taylor as options in center field. However, the Nationals have shown in the past that they’re willing to add talent even without a clear fit, as was evidenced by last year’s signing of Scherzer despite an already excellent rotation. Even this offseason, the Nats have pursued Jason Heyward and Justin Upton, and they signed both Daniel Murphy and Stephen Drew even though one could argue that the team already had sufficient middle infield depth.
Ultimately, Cespedes is the type of player that would serve as an upgrade to any roster in the Majors, and Washington may feel that his current market is at a point where they can’t pass on adding a player of this caliber to its roster. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Nats had made an offer to Cespedes last night, though he noted at the time that the offer was short of the contract that Upton landed with the Tigers.