The New York Mets are not planning on making attempts to retain Yoenis Cespedes in the offseason as the outfielder hits free agency. That means the Mets will be losing one of their top bats that helped them get to the World Series and now they are tasked with trying to replace his hole on the field and in the lineup. With at least one big contract ready to hand out, will Dexter Fowler be a priority for the team?
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Mets are showing plenty of interest in Fowler who is hitting free agency as well. However, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times is reporting that the Cubs are hoping to retain Fowler which could make the bidding war high on the outfielder. Fowler played 2015 on a deal worth $9.5 million and could garner a contract worth upwards of $60 to $65 million over the span of four years. The Cubs reportedly only want to offer a two-year contract to the outfielder which could mean the Mets might win out.
According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, if the Mets are handing out a big contract this offseason it will be to Ben Zobrist. However, Zobrist has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Cubs. That could make re-signing Daniel Murphy an option for the team. A contract to Murphy is expected to be big as he is demanding four years in the deal. That would hurt the pursuit of a high-priced outfielder to fill the hole of Cespedes. The team could try and convince Murphy to take a hometown discount, but the infielder will test his options first.
What do the Mets do if Fowler is re-signed by Chicago? According to Adam Rubin of ESPN, the best fit would be Jason Heyward who could easily fill right in with Curtis Granderson. Heyward is going to be earning a big contract with whatever team he opts to sign for so the Mets must be willing to meet the demands. The best outfielder available, Heyward would be worth the price with Cespedes leaving. Justin Upton could be a player that garners some attention as well as he, Fowler and Heyward make up the best available options.
Is Cespedes for sure out of the mix for the Mets? According to Rubin if New York was going to bring back one of their two stars, it would be Murphy and not the outfielder. Cespedes will be demanding a bigger contract than he is considered worth and the Mets have no interest in feeding into that. Instead, the team will set their focus elsewhere unless the price tag drops on the outfielder.