Mets Eagerly Look to Free Agent Market
While everyone in the United States has been swept up in the euphoria of the Cubs winning their first World Series in more than a hundred years, Yoenis Cespedes’ representatives have chosen to keep their eyes solely focused on his future, putting all other occurrences in the online sports betting arena to the side, and for good reason.
The Cuban Slugger is expected to exercise the option in his contract to depart from the Mets, becoming the biggest bat available on the free-agent market this winter. Everyone knows that Cespedes is looking for the sort of $100 million deal that the Mets are unlikely to give him, though they will definitely keep the lines of communication open.
Of course, Cespedes isn’t the only notable slugger that will be on the market this offseason; the presence of the likes of Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista might give the Mets the leverage they need to retain Cespedes without spending too much money on a deal.
Cespedes’ abilities are beyond reproach; the Mets’ impressive offense to the world series in 2015 was almost single-handedly sparked and driven by Cespedes. The Mets have every reason to try to coerce Cespedes back into the fold, though they won’t so easily give into some of his expectations.
The close of the Fall Classic saw the Mets immediately undertake negotiations with Bartolo Colon, Neil Walker, and Jerry Belvins as well as Alejandro De Aza within the five-day window that was provided them after the four became free agents.
Jay Bruce and Jon Niese’s contract options for 2017 were also up for discussion, so the Mets have been quite busy as of late; and in a few days, qualifying offers and exercise options on players contracts must be made and submitted.
Once the qualifying offers are made (most likely $17.2 million for Cespedes and Walker), the players will have up to a week to accept or turn the offers down (possibly heading to the free agency market).
Walker is almost certain to head to the free agent market (this will be the first time in his career); the back injuries he struggled with do not change the fact that his season after being traded from the pirates was quite strong.
And he won’t be the only one turning the $17.2 million down; for Cespedes, the one-year deal is a step down from what he is already choosing to leave behind, not to mention a far cry from the deal he wants.
With the exit of Walker and Cespedes, the Mets can make up for their vacancies using the compensation pick in the 2017 MLB amateur draft. Bruce isn’t likely to go the way of Walker and Cespedes.
With the exit of Cespedes, the Mets will have little choice but to pick up Bruce’s $13 million option for the next year, though they will definitely buy out Niese’s contract.
While Colon has expressed an interest in coming back as a Met, and many in the organization have supported his return, there is no guarantee that he will come back, though a chance to surpass Juan Marichal’s record might give him the push he needs.
Mets fans are waiting in anticipation for Tuesday when the free agent market finally opens, giving the team an opportunity to talk to outsiders.