OF opted out of final two years of deal with New York
By Barry M. Bloom
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Mets are not discounting a return of free agent left-fielder Yoenis Cespedes for another season, general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday during the first day of the annual General Managers Meetings.
"All things considered, we'd like to have him back, yes," Alderson said.
On Saturday, Cespedes opted out of the free-agent deal he signed last offseason with the Mets, leaving two years and $42.5 million on the table. And on Monday, the Mets extended $17.2 million qualifying offers to Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker.
The players have 10 days to accept or reject the offer. Alderson doesn't anticipate Cespedes accepting it, but making the offer protects the Mets' right to draft-pick compensation if another team signs him.
Alderson said he's already spoken to Cespedes' agent.
"Oh yeah, we've reached out to him," Alderson said. "We expect to have more conversations with them in the next few days. His agent will be out here somewhere. I'm sure you'll talk to him. It all remains to be seen what direction it takes."
Cespedes, it can be argued, has had the greatest impact of any player the last two seasons on the Mets.
He was acquired from the Tigers in the finals minutes of the July 31, 2015, non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Mets were two games over .500 at the time and finished 18 games over, winning the National League East.
Ultimately, the Mets lost to the Royals in a five-game World Series.
This season, Cespedes came back from a quad injury on Aug. 19 with the Mets at 60-61 and fading in the race for an NL Wild Card berth. The Mets went 27-14 the rest of the way to take the first Wild Card berth only to lose, 3-0, at home to the Giants.
Cespedes has a .282 batting average, .903 OPS, 48 homers and 130 RBIs in 189 games for the Mets.
"He did have a big impact," Alderson said. "But I don't want to get into that because I don't want to slight the impact of some of our other ballplayers. He had a big impact when he came back off of injury. But so did Asdrubal Cabrera. So did Jose Reyes. We had a lot of contributors."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.