Cespedes wins first NL Silver Slugger Award

Cespedes wins first NL Silver Slugger Award

NEW YORK -- As the Mets' pursuit of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes takes shape, the club on Thursday received another reminder of what makes him so valuable.

Cespedes won his first National League Silver Slugger Award, presented by Louisville Slugger. The award, which recognizes the top offensive performer in each league at every position, came following a season that saw him hit .280 with 31 home runs and an .884 OPS.

Overall since joining the Mets at the 2015 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Cespedes has batted .282 with 48 home runs in 189 games, establishing himself as one of the league's most formidable sluggers. His '16 statistics came despite a series of injuries that limited him to 132 games, dampening his overall numbers.

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Still, Cespedes made his first NL All-Star team and second in a five-year career, winning the Silver Slugger Award alongside outfielders Christian Yelich of the Marlins and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies.

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Now, the question becomes where Cespedes plays his next game. He recently opted out of the final two seasons of his three-year, $75-million contract, and is expected to decline the Mets' one-year, $17.2-million qualifying offer. At the General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., GM Sandy Alderson said repeatedly this week that he plans to pursue Cespedes, and he hopes to have a resolution before Christmas. But the Nationals, Yankees, Giants and other clubs are also rumored to have interest in Cespedes.

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None of the Mets' other Silver Slugger Award contenders took home hardware. New York's most promising candidate aside from Cespedes, pitcher Noah Syndergaard, hit .190 with a league-high three home runs in 67 plate appearances. But he finished behind Chicago's Jake Arrieta (.262 average, two home runs).

Silver Slugger Award winners, determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers, go to the best offensive producers at each position in their respective leagues. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.