We’ve heard that the Mets aren’t particularly interested in another protracted dalliance with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, with GM Sandy Alderson saying that the team would prefer to know its course with regard to the superstar before the end of the Winter Meetings in early December. That’s still a month away, of course, but it certainly seems reasonable to expect that Cespedes’s market will move more quickly this offseason than it did last. Still, there’s no single, clear suitor (beyond the incumbent Mets) for his services, so there’s plenty of room for the market to develop — with trades and other signings potentially having a role in how it all shakes out.
Here are a few notes on Cespedes from the GM Meetings:
- There’s no question that the Mets want to retain Cespedes, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom reports. Alderson said today that the team would prefer to sign him, “all things considered,” though the question remains just how much cash (and how many years) the organization will put on the table. New York has already reached out to Cespedes’s camp to begin talks, as he weighs a qualifying offer that he’s certain to reject. “Oh yeah, we’ve reached out to him,” Alderson said. “We expect to have more conversations with them in the next few days. His agent will be out here somewhere. I’m sure you’ll talk to him. It all remains to be seen what direction it takes.”
- Somewhat intriguingly, there’s another New York team that has expressed interest, though it’s far from clear how serious a pursuit should be expected. The Yankees have spoken with Cespedes’s representatives at CAA, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, though GM Brian Cashman said that the expectation is the team will utilize internal options in the outfield. And the Yanks have also reached out to a variety of other potential free agent targets, including departing Blue Jays power hitter Jose Bautista. All told, it doesn’t seem as if there’s any particular reason to think the Bronx Bombers are readying to move on either veteran slugger, though Cashman did note that “things could change if we move money.”
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo also fielded questions on Cespedes, saying that the outfielder “improves any team he plays for,” as Joel Sherman of the New York Post was among those to report. Rizzo noted that the club feels comfortable with Bryce Harper in center and Trea Turner at short, which could open the door to another pursuit of Cespedes — who spurned the Nats last winter to take a deal with the Mets that allowed him to return to the market this winter. As Sherman notes, the Nationals have strategic reasons to drive up the bidding on Cespedes, even if they aren’t truly keen on spending big to add him, but it also seems clear that the organization has a realistic interest in pursuing him at the right price.