It is being reported by FOX Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal that the New York Mets have come to terms on a deal with free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The deal is reportedly going to be the biggest free agent deal in Mets history.The reported specifics detail Cespedes receiving a four-year $110 million deal. The deal will pan out to an average of $27.5 million dollars a year for the 31-year old slugger. While the amount isn’t as nearly as surprising, the length of the contract certainly is. It was being widely reported that Cespedes was looking for a five-year contract on the open market and teams such as the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals were lurking in the background. Cespedes will receive full no-trade protection and is only behind Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera in terms of annual average salary for a position player in MLB history. Cespedes will however hold the top annual average salary ever for any outfielder with this deal.
It is a big get for Sandy Alderson and company as they look to return to the World Series after last year’s Wild Card round elimination. The Mets have not had an impactful bat in their lineup since Carlos Beltran, and Cespedes has proven to be that and more over his season and a half with the team. He has fully embraced New York and New York has fully embraced him. In 189 games played for the Mets since coming over during the 2015 MLB Trade Deadline Cespedes has hit .282 with 48 home runs and 130 RBI’s.
Now that this deal has been completed, the Mets can focus their attention in other directions in regards to improving the roster. Jay Bruce is highly likely to be traded after this signing and it will be interesting to see what the Mets will want in return. There had already been speculation earlier this month that both the Blue Jays and Mets were talking about a deal involving the 29-year old outfielder. The hot stove is getting hotter with the Winter Meetings around the corner, and the Mets for the first time in quite some time dug deep in their pockets to get their guy.
- Cuban free agent third baseman Yulieski Gourriel held his private workout with the Mets today at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie. Gourriel who is widely regarded as the best player in Cuba, held a private workout with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. In 15 seasons played between Cuba and Japan, Gourriel has hit .335 with a .417 OBP, .580 slugging percentage and 250 HR in 5,491 plate appearances. Former teammate and current Met Yoenis Cespedes has heavily campaigned for the Mets to sign Gourriel. It is estimated that the 32-year old Cuban could ask for between $10-11 million annually, and it is unknown if the Mets will meet that price tag. Gourriel posted the picture above on his personal Instagram account today.
- The New York Mets are on the fence as to whether Steven Matz will make his next scheduled start on Wednesday night against the Washington Nationals. Matz who has been examined by a doctor, has no structural damage in the left elbow but is still feeling discomfort. You can imagine the Mets and manager Terry Collins are going to play it safe with their prized rookie left-hander, but we should know an exact status on Matz by tomorrow.
- Manager Terry Collins has indicated before tonight’s game that former shortstop now turned utility player, Jose Reyes will play his final game with the Low-A Brooklyn Cyclones tonight before moving his minor league assignment to Double-A Binghamton tomorrow. It is widely expected that Reyes will spend between 7-10 days in the minors working out at third base and in the outfield before making his return to the Major League roster. In Reyes first action yesterday for Brooklyn he played third base and went 0-3 at the plate with a walk. Reyes is expected to be inserted immediately into the leadoff spot upon his arrival to the Mets.
- In sort-of related Mets news, the Washington Nationals announced that right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito will be recalled from Double-A tomorrow night to face the Mets. Giolito is expected to replace Stephen Strasburg while he is on the disabled list. Giolito is widely regarded as the number one prospect in baseball and is ranked as the number one overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com. The Mets however have faced their fair share of high-end rookie pitchers this year including facing the number two prospect in baseball, Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias.
Yoenis Cespedes was examined today by Mets team doctors, and had fluid drained from his right leg after reaggravating his leg injury on Friday night. Cespedes reinjured his right leg sliding into second base on a double. Cespedes originally injured his right leg on a dive into the stands, chasing a foul ball earlier this month. He was not in tonight’s lineup and has now missed three games in a row with the possibility of missing at least five in a row.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson spoke on the situation prior to tonight’s contest and stated that he does not believe he will require a DL stint, however it is “possible” that Cespedes will sit the entire series against the Reds.
“At the moment we’re looking at it on a day-by-day basis,” Alderson told reporters prior to the game. “Fortunately we have the depth that we anticipated we would need, and so we’ve been able to survive his absence over the last several days. And I’m sure we’ll do our best to survive over the next two or three. But, right now, I don’t see it being a DL. That could change, obviously, with a different medical opinion as time goes on. But I don’t see that.”
I believe the Mets will err on the side of caution with Cespedes as they have plenty of outfield depth, and there is no reason to rush him back at less than 100% this early in the season. The Mets are beginning a stretch starting tonight, of twenty games in twenty-one days, which includes a long West Coast swing starting next Thursday. With only one off day in the next twenty-one days, the Mets can’t afford to lose Cespedes for a significant period of time. With the offense currently trending up, there should be no harm letting him sit out one series against the struggling Reds.
- Terry Collins told reporters this afternoon, that Curtis Granderson is expected to play and be back in the lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s tilt against the New York Yankees.
- Yoenis Cespedes will play in his first game in center field this spring, on Wednesday afternoon as well. Cespedes has been limited to playing in a DH role thus far.
- Juan Lagares is on the travel roster for tommrrow afternoon’s ball game in Orlando against the Braves. Lagares has been out of action for the past several days due to a dental problem. Expect Lagares to draw the start in center field.
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