There’s “optimism growing” within the Mets organization that the team will be able to reach agreement on a new deal with star free agent Yoenis Cespedes, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports on Twitter. It isn’t precisely clear what has led the team to that interpretation, but evidently there’s some sign of movement on the slugger’s market.
New York is reportedly hoping to avoid guaranteeing five years to Cespedes, even as it has seemed likely he’ll do just that. (Indeed, there’s at least a theoretical case that he could command a sixth season.) Both sides are said to be hopeful of resolving things one way or another by the conclusion of the Winter Meetings, which are scheduled to take place next week.
Coming into the winter, there was no question that both player and team would have interest in a reunion. But there were perhaps two major questions in Cespedes’s free agent case: first, whether significant interest would develop from one or more new organizations; and second, to what extent the Mets would be willing to beat the market to re-sign him. Last offseason, New York was able to land the star on a three-year, $75MM deal by dangling an opt-out, though now he’s the consensus best-player-available and has banked another year of superstar-level production.
It’s hard to guess at what could be driving the Mets’ organization’s apparent belief that it could be moving into position on Cespedes. His market has been relatively quiet on the rumor mill, but that may not reflect the action behind the scenes. Also, continued uncertainty in the CBA could have an impact on what other organizations will be willing to do. Whether not fear of a work stoppage could motivate Cespedes and his reps to work something out with the Mets isn’t know, but perhaps can’t be ruled out. All told, it’s certainly plausible that the sides have moved toward common ground after performing their own internal assessments.