The New York Mets have signed Alejandro De Aza to a free agent contract and that could mean the return of Yoenis Cespedes to Queens is unlikely for next season. Jon Heyman at CBS Sports reports that Steve Pearce could be a potential option for the Mets, while Kirk Nieuwenhuis was claimed by the Brewers.
The Mets have been looking to add a piece in the outfield and while many fans want to see the return of Yoenis Cespedes, the addition of De Aza likely ends any chance of that happening. According to ESPN, De Aza is coming in on a one-year deal worth $5.75 million and the contract also has over $1 million in performance bonuses. Adam Rubin reports that De Aza, Juan Lagares, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will likely be the primary outfielders for 2016.
Michael Cuddyer retired earlier in the month and that has opened up some money and a need for another backup outfielder. De Aza comes in after hitting .261 with seven homers and 32 RBIs with the Orioles, Red Sox and Giants last season. Jon Heyman at CBS Sports reports that the addition of De Aza likely will "close the door" on the Mets bringing back Cespedes. Heyman added that the team made a "brief foray" into bringing Cespedes back, but it likely was not going to happen if Cespedes wanted a long term contract.
Heyman writes that the Mets "suggested" a shorter deal of "two or three" years to bring back Cespedes, but the outfielder likely is looking for a deal at least five years long. Heyman reports that the Giants, Angels, Tigers and White Sox all are potential options for Cespedes, who combined to hit 35 home runs and 105 RBI last season.
De Aza comes in to help replace the loss of Cespedes, while the trade for Neil Walker basically ended any chance of Daniel Murphy returning to the team. The other moves the Mets have made this season include adding Asdrubal Cabrera and bringing back both Bartolo Colon and Jerry Blevins. The team still has a need in the outfield for depth and Heyman writes that Pearce could be a potential target.
The Mets have also lost Kirk Nieuwenhuis after the Milwaukee Brewers claimed the outfielder off of waivers. The loss of Nieuwenhuis allows the team to add De Aza to the 40-man roster and it comes after he hit four home runs last season while putting up a .208 batting average.