The outfielders market is beginning to take shape in free agency. With most of the marquee pitchers and infielders off the board, names like Alex Gordon and Justin Upton are being swept up. The biggest name that remains is Yoenis Cespedes who is looking for a large contract and finding that most teams are unwilling to give it to him. Does that mean the New York Mets are still in the hunt for their former outfielder?
The Mets still need to fill the hole left by Cespedes. They have made a few minor signings, but a power right bat is needed. According to the New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson via ESPN.com, the team is still in talks with Cespedes and has not given up on the idea that he could return to Citi Field next year. The Mets do have Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson as their starting outfielder, but there is no question that Cespedes is an upgrade in center field which is why the Mets keep calling.
The contract to Justin Upton hurts the Mets. The outfielder agreed to a six-year, $132.75 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Cespedes will want something similar. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Mets do not want to offer anything more than a four-year deal. Rosenthal reports the team could try to get away with a contract worth five years with a two-year opt-out option that has deferred money to it. That would be a win for both sides.
The Mets can afford Cespedes, they just do not want to spend the money. According to ESPN.com, the team has spent $35.5 million on four free agents this offseason. That is less than Miami, Oakland and Colorado. The team is trying not to blow up their payroll, but if they feel like Cespedes is the needed player on the roster to get them back to the World Series, then spending the money is necessary. The outfielder could find that most teams are not willing to give him the sized contract Upton earned and he could accept the smaller contract and return to New York.
The Mets appear comfortable with their outfield enough not to chase other options, but if they cannot get a deal done with Cespedes they have a few options left on the open market. Dexter Fowler is still on the market and could begin to lower his asking price. The same can be said for Denard Span. If the Mets want more help in the outfield, they have options to pick from.