The New York Mets did not win the race for Ben Zobrist and were forced to trade for Neil Walker instead, giving up Jon Niese in the process. Losing Zobrist meant the Mets lost their top priority in free agency and the deal to acquire Walker meant the return of Daniel Murphy was not happening. Looking to still hand out one big contract in the offseason, the Mets do not believe the return of Yoenis Cespedes will be an option.
According to ESPN's Adam Rubin, the return of both Murphy and Cespedes have been denied by assistant general manager John Ricco. Despite having the flexibility to re-sign one of the two options, Ricco is admitting financial defeat in both cases. ESPN Deportes' Marly Rivera is reporting that Cespedes is seeking a deal of at least six years which the Mets are unwilling to meet.
"It's unlikely right now that he ends up a Met," Ricco said, via ESPN.com. "I think that's fair to say. I think we will end up meeting with his agent. Right now, I still think he's looking at a deal that would be north of what we would consider."
Rubin reports that the Mets have been in talks with the outfielder this offseason, but a deal is not likely to happen. They were also in talks with Murphy before acquiring Walker in a trade. So for now, the team loses their two top bats and must figure out how to replace them.
"Whether we have a specific meeting to talk about Cespedes, I'm not sure," Ricco said, via ESPN.com. "They have other players. I imagine we'll meet with them, and as part of that conversation his name will come up. I think right now, in talking with them, and getting feedback from Sandy, I would view it as pretty unlikely that we do anything with him."
If the Mets are unwilling to meet the demands of Cespedes, the chances they land Jason Heyward are slim to none. According to the New York Daily News, Heyward and the Mets appeared to be a match made in heaven, but the outfielder will demand a similar contract to what Cespedes wants. That could leave the Mets out of the running. So who can they get in his place? Justin Upton and Dexter Fowler remain options that might not cost as much. Denard Span could also be an option as he gains attention with the outfielders market beginning to take shape.