Yoenis Cespedes may be the most exciting baseball player in New York. He’s been slugging homers for the last three seasons. Now at 29, all of his five tools are on display on the biggest stage in the world. Kudos to the Mets for acquiring him.
Now the $120 million dollar question is, can they keep him?
Mets GM Sandy Alderson has been coy about keeping him. Cespedes, on the other hand, will tell anybody who asks how much he loves the team, the city and their fans. There is a deal to be made here, but it won’t happen until after the season. Whenever the Mets season ends, per his contract, the team will have just five days to get that deal done.
Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson are all coming off the books. Their pro-rated salaries don’t have much of an impact on the current payroll. Now Bartolo Colon’s $10 million and Daniel Murphy’s $8 million are also coming off the books. Technically, that’s most of the $20 million needed to play the talented Cuban. Giving him the right term is the key to this deal.
This reminds me of the Mike Hampton situation. He performed well in New York. At times he was great. The Mets advanced to the World Series and lost to the Yankees in 2000. He wanted to stay but opted out for the better school system in Colorado, and more money, that was the real reason he left. That hurt the Mets and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
Cespedes has had “Clemente-esque” performances. From getting a triple with speed to making an amazing throw from the right field to gun down a runner at 3rd base. He hitting three homers in a game to tie a Mets record. He’s never going to be Roberto Clemente, but he could be the next big star in New York. That’s worth something.
Attendance is increasing. The Mets are now ranked 16th and it’s trending up averaging well over 30,000 a game. Payroll went up, but so did attendance. That’s always been the equation here that the Mets didn’t seem to understand until this season. So hopefully that will carry over to this negotiation. If they can lock up Cespedes, and trade some talent in the winter they could be a contender again next year and for years to come.
The Mets are slowly winning their fans back. The fans who had previously stayed away. The injection of excitement this year has made Citi Field a destination spot. They can build on this. They can even raise the prices slightly if they get this deal done and I don’t think many would complain.
The postseason seems likely at this point, but fans are guarded. They’ve seen collapses before. If they can stay hot they can possibly get home field in the playoffs. That’s huge.
Right now they are leading the NL East by a comfortable margin. The magic number posts are a bit too soon but fans are having a hard time containing their excitement. That’s understandable and let’s hope it continues until late October.