Just entering his second and final year in Flushing, Michael Cuddyer has pulled off the ultimate magic trick, making himself disappear, much like he practiced throughout the 2015 campaign. While he limped through the 2015 season and playoffs, it is somewhat surprising he would end his career on such a down note. Not only did he vanquish himself from the Mets, he left a parting gift of his unexpected $12.5 million dollar guaranteed salary.
While there is no guarantee Alderson and the Wilpon’s will immediately reinvest this money, it is know they need a bullpen arm, 5th starter to keep Wheeler’s seat warm and an outfielder to either split time with Lagares or make him an excellent defensive 4th outfielder. I fully expect the Mets to re-sign Jerry Blevins, possibly Tyler Clippard, and a few minor league deal reclamation projects. Likely the 5th starter will be Bartolo Colon, but maybe save that money and see what Verrett or Montero can do on the cheap. And the reason I suggest saving the money on Colon is because the answer to many of our past and potential future problems is still lying in the wings, waiting for the right offer to strike. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am indeed speaking of Yoenis Cespedes.
Now we all learned towards the end of last season, and through the post-season, Cespedes is not the prototypical superstar that every team covets. But for 2 months he put this team on their back and took them to the playoffs. I firmly believe, if not for him, Murphy would not have put on his power display and the whole lineup who have been approached differently every step of the way. Sure, we can all point out his strikeouts in key spots, lack of hustle at times, and the first ball put in play in game 1 of the World Series, but remember, there would have been no World Series without him. He has an arm like no other, crazy speed for a guy of his build, and power that no park can contain. And if the owners happen to read this, he filled the seats (ka-ching)!
The longer Cespedes sits out on the market, the more the Mets have to be thinking the door for a return is creeping back open. After Heyward (26) just signed for below projected value, I can’t see Cespedes getting what he is looking for and the Mets should ignite negotiations and put themselves on his and his agents minds immediately. If somehow they can talk Yo down from his 6-7 year wish list, I think a 5 year offer for the 30 year old slugger at 22-24 per is more than enough to garner interest in a return to Flushing. Heck, since it worked for Hayward and guys like Sabathia and Aroid, they should even offer an opt out after year 2 or 3 and raise the AAV slightly for those first couple of years, where on that scenario he would still be young enough to re-up with someone on another monster deal. And if he chose the opt-out, the Mets would free up money at a time when many of their young starters would be looking for mega deals as well.