SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said he informed slugger Yoenis Cespedes' agent that he'd like to have the matter of his re-signing resolved one way or another well before the end of the year.
Cespedes is one of two Mets free agents that Alderson would like to have back for the 2017 season and beyond. The other is second baseman Neil Walker. A third was right-hander Bartolo Colon, who agreed to a one-year deal with the Braves on Friday.
"I have no idea what the market [for Cespedes] is," Alderson said as the annual General Managers Meetings ended on Thursday morning. "The market will drive this. Both on timing and other aspects, I think."
The Mets re-signed Cespedes as a free agent on Jan. 26. The three-year deal worth $74 million had an opt-out clause after the 2016 season. On Saturday, Cespedes exercised that option, leaving two years and $47.5 million on the table, $23.75 million each for the next two seasons.
And on Monday, the Mets extended $17.2 million qualifying offers to both Cespedes and Walker, which gives the Mets Draft-pick protection if either player signs with another club.
Asked if the market for Cespedes was substantially different than last offseason, Alderson said: "Again, I don't know the answer to that question. As we've expressed to them, we'd like to have this resolved well before January because of other things that we need to address. But I have no idea what might transpire moving forward."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Wednesday said that his club had opened preliminary discussions with Cespedes.
Alderson said he met with Cespedes' agent, Brodie van Wagenen of CAA Sports, briefly on Wednesday.
"It was still a very preliminary conversation," Alderson said. "At this point, I don't think they know where they stand, and if they had an idea, they didn't share it with us."
Cespedes, it can be argued, has had the greatest impact of any Mets player over the last two seasons. He was acquired from the Tigers in the final minutes of the 2015 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Mets were two games over .500 at the time and finished 18 over, winning the National League East.
The Mets ultimately lost to the Royals in a five-game World Series.
This year, 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 capture the first WC spot -- only to lose, 3-0, at home in the Wild Card Game to the Giants.
Cespedes, 31, has a .282 batting average, .903 OPS, 48 homers and 130 RBIs in 189 games for the Mets.
While Alderson said earlier in the week that the Mets would like to have Cespedes back, he's already contingency planning in case the slugger isn't. The Mets can certainly go to Spring Training with players like Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares already in the outfield.
"Well, that's an option," Alderson said. "I think anybody who's being prudent would line up different scenarios as options and alternatives. Every team could wind up with what they have. We have some quality in our outfield now, it's just a little left-handed."
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.