12:47pm: The Mets have not extended a formal offer to Cespedes, tweets Heyman, but do remain interested in pacts of one to three years if he comes off his demands for a longer-term deal.
12:30pm: MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets that Cespedes is believed to be considering both a five-year, $90MM offer (plus a possible option) with the Orioles against a one-year deal with the Mets which would allow him to hit free agency again next winter.
JAN. 15, 11:40am: Jon Heyman tweets that the offer is believed to be for about $90MM over five years and may contain an option for a sixth season. Ghiroli also hears (Twitter link) that there’s a possible option attached to the deal, adding that Camden Yards is appealing to Cespedes. Kubatko adds (Twitter link) that there won’t be an opt-out clause from the Orioles.
JAN. 14, 9:36pm: Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have increased their interest in Cespedes and are considering an offer worth around $18MM per year. That would seem to indicate that the Orioles are on the higher end of the range previously listed by Crasnick, although from my vantage point that still seems to be too light to land a player of Cespedes’ caliber. Whether that’s a launching point into deeper negotiations or an offer near the top of Baltimore’s comfort zone remains to be seen, but the team does not appear, at this time, to simply be willing to reallocate the ~$150MM offered to Davis to a pursuit of Cespedes.
6:16pm: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that “it’s believed” that the Orioles are willing to go in the range of five years and $75-90MM for Cespedes at this time. While that’s a sizable sum, it’s also considerably south of the general expectations most had for Cespedes entering the season. Crasnick also tweets that the Orioles are becoming increasingly frustrated with Davis and might even be on the brink of walking away from negotiations entirely.
4:57pm: The Orioles have made an offer to outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, an industry source tells MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link), who adds that Baltimore prefers Cespedes to Justin Upton at this time. Per Kubatko, there are no new developments in the seemingly stagnant talks between the Orioles and Chris Davis. MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli tweets that Baltimore’s interest in Cespedes “is high.”
The nature of the offer remains a mystery at this juncture, although given Baltimore’s reported seven-year, $150-154MM offer to Davis, the team clearly has some money to spend this offseason. While many have speculated that Cespedes could eventually change course and seek a short-term deal, that speculation seems largely unfounded; reports yesterday indicated that Cespedes’ camp has no interest in seeking a short-term deal, and as Jeff Todd and I broke down on today’s podcast, players on the level of Cespedes, Upton and Davis typically end up getting paid, even if they linger on the market into late January. For instance, one year ago today, a common narrative was that Max Scherzer didn’t have a market and wouldn’t be able to secure the mammoth contract he sought; on Jan. 22, he signed a $210MM contract with the Nationals. While the outfield market has been slow to develop, the Orioles could potentially be one of the keys to expediting the signing process for the remaining top bats. Representatives of each of the top remaining bats know that Baltimore has money to spend and a need for offense, with at least one corner-outfield hole to fill.
As the two top corner outfield bats remaining on the market, Cespedes and Upton figure to remain linked until one of the duo signs. The pair offers relatively similar skill-sets, though Cespedes offers considerably more defensive upside whereas Upton’s keener eye at the plate leads to an edge in on-base percentage for him. Additionally, Upton is two years younger, but he also comes with draft-pick compensation attached to his name after rejecting a qualifying offer. The same cannot be said for Cespedes, who was of course ineligible to receive a QO after being traded from the Tigers to the Mets this past season.