With the free agency and especially outfielders market behaving in strange ways, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising to see the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets showing interest in Yoenis Cespedes, although it might not result in anything.
Why? Cespedes is looking for a long term deal. The 30-year old Cuban has been in the Majors since 2012, and has already played for four different teams, impressing in his short stint with the Mets last season after arriving via trade from Detroit. He hit 17 home runs in just 57 games to help them win the NL East and make the playoffs, eventually going to the World Series, although his postseason performances weren’t as strong.
The Mets aren’t interested in giving Cespedes the long term deal he’s looking for. The same goes for the Braves, who will need to move things around in their outfield if they do somehow sign him, and probably clear some space from their salary. Cespedes made $10.5 million in each of the last two seasons, but is hoping to make double that on average for at least four seasons on his next deal. From the contracts we’ve seen players getting, he’s probably going to end up with a lot less.
The only way for Cespedes to make that $17-20 million a season he’s looking for is to take the one-two year deals on the table for him. The Braves might be the more eager of the two NL East teams regarding Cespedes, but it’s worth mentioning that there are others around the league still looking for a big hitter. Whether it’s Chris Davis or Carlos Gonzalez holding everyone up, it doesn’t matter. Cespedes falls into the pool of players teams are still waiting to lower his demands.
In four season Cespedes has made one All-Star game and won the Gold Glove once (2015). He has 106 home runs in 575 games, batting .271 with an .805 OPS. He hit 35 home runs overall last season for the Mets and Tigers while producing his second straight +100 RBIs season, making him one of the more consistent and productive players still available to sign.