Before Brian Cashman began rappelling down the 22-story One Landmark Square building in Stamford, Conn. as a participant in the city’s annual “Heights and Lights” program on Friday, the Yankees general manager spoke of a player who could’ve considered the opportunity to play in the Bronx next season.
According to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com, Cashman engaged in “several conversations” with Yoenis Cespedes’ agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, before the 31-year-old outfielder signed a four-year, $110 million contract to return to the Mets this past week.
“(Van Wagenen) kind of mapped out their expectations,” Cashman said. “Those expectations got met by the Mets. I think they would have considered anybody that was willing to meet the expectations. All things being equal, New York was a place he wanted to stay, and I’m sure the Mets were a place he had comfort because that’s where he would have played with and wanted to be.
“So he never said that the Mets were his first choice, but my sense was that the Mets were his first choice but it wasn’t conveyed to me. But it wasn’t in Brodie Van Wagenen’s best interest to convey that to me. All the tea leaves pointed to him wanting to be a Met, hoping to be a Met, but willing because it’s a business to do whatever’s in his best interest depending on the other offers out there. We didn’t make an offer. But he’s a heck of a baseball player and very impactful for that franchise.”
Cespedes, who has hit 48 home runs with 130 RBI in 189 games as a Met, became baseball’s highest-paid outfielder in history, with a $27.5 million average annual value. The deal also includes a full no-trade clause.
Although the Mets’ attraction to Cespedes wasn’t kept secret, Cashman believes the two parties were a perfect match from the start of the offseason.
“No, you pay attention to what everybody communicates and what (Mets general manager) Sandy Alderson — to my recollection, was very public about wanting to get something done prior to the Winter Meetings so he could plan accordingly on whatever moves he wants to do,” Cashman said. “And they were very interested, clearly, in retaining Cespedes and Cespedes was very happy with the Mets. So I think a marriage was predictable.”