The first big name of the hot stove is off the market as the Mets have re-signed slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $110 million contract. Pending a physical, the Cuban native will enjoy the largest free agent deal in Mets history, along with a full no-trade clause, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Earlier this off-season, Cespedes opted out of the final two years of his initial three-year, $75 million dollar contract with the Mets that was signed last year. He was set to make $47.5 million over the next two years before opting out.
The two-time all-star hit .280 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI last season, establishing himself as a top free agent this year. There was some speculation that Cespedes would sign with the Yankees this offseason, but the 31-year-old ultimately did not fit into the Yankees’ plans of compiling a younger and more affordable roster.
The Yankees’ Plan
Yankee’s owner Hal Steinbrenner has his own plans for the Yankees outfield, stating last week that he expects Aaron Judge to be the starting right fielder for the Yankees in 2017. Steinbrenner’s comments made his intentions clear and further distanced his team from the Cespedes sweepstakes. While adding a big bat to the lineup would certainly benefit the Yankees, the front office has made it clear that their current priority is to bolster the bullpen. Signing a closing pitcher like Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen would be difficult for the Yankees to “stay their course” if they also spent big bucks on a guy like Cespedes. For now, the Yankees’ outfield consists of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brett Gardner.