It was as good as unwrapping the gift they wanted on Christmas Day morning. The New York Mets started early this holiday with the looming World Baseball Classic about to delay free agent proceedings for a month. They re-signed Yoenis Cespedes, the gift that keeps on giving, to a four-year, 110 million dollar contract.
When Cespedes first came to the Mets, he changed the air and expectations of the place with his high-impact power hitting game but they also got a taste of his overabundant personality quirks. When Cespedes left an opt-out clause in his last deal both sides knew this day was coming. But Cespedes was rooting for his team.
“I said long before it happened, I wanted to be with this team,”
Mets management agreed yet had a lot to ponder in trying to retain Cespedes while keeping him away from teams like the Giants or even the crosstown Yankees from leaving a big gap in a lineup that this past season was too light on offense.
“He’s that kind of player,”
Mets manager Terry Collins said,
“You expect big things each and every time he goes up.”
This is the largest Met contract ever tendered but a look at the 48 home runs in 189 games makes it worth it but a no-trade clause means Cespedes and the Mets are tied for better or for worst. But the 31-year old Cuban-born Yoenis has been that kind of impact player everywhere and especially for his latest wooer, the Mets. They avoided a too lengthy deal running five to six years ensuring they will pay for his prime years only and skipping the natural decline. But Mets fans are willing to pay to see his show regardless.
“He’s a special guy,”
“They see him come up to bat and they know he can do something dangerous each and every time up.”
Is that not what the Mets wanted for Christmas? Not to lose their favorite toy to another kid around the corner without one. The Mets still have more work to do in re-configuring its 2017 lineup but they did well in retaining their foundation piece. That’s the best gift management could have given Met fans unsure of the immediate future.