Posted by David Whitman at 12:00 PM
The Mets just signed Antonio Bastardo. That move creates the potential for the team to have a back end that could challenge as one of the top 5-10 in the game especially if Mejia stays clean. It’s a solid signing and they didn’t have to go three years. But unfortunately, this move is being overshadowed by the news that the dreaded Nats have offered a five year -$100+ million deal to Yoenis Cespedes. You talk about an example of someone pissing in your cheerios. But unfortunately, like the Mets, this Washington team would like to win a division and possibly a World Series too. The Mets can build the best rotation money can’t buy to strike fear in enemy hitter’s bats but the Nats want to counteract that strategy with a more offensive one of their own.
It’s a great and shrewd move by Washington. It’s a nightmare scenario for New York. They are forced into a position where they would have to overspend on both money and years to retain the services of Cespedes or watch him go to their biggest rival. Sandy would be spending future money that is probably allocated in the coming years to retaining their starting pitchers. Also, agreeing to a long-term deal for a 30 year old player goes against Alderson’s philosophy and actions as a GM. But with Washington in hot pursuit, how can he not consider breaking his own rule?. Did I mention that this is the worst case scenario in the Cespedes saga?
The ramifications of this outcome will impact the short and long term for the Mets. Washington acquiring Cespedes on a 5 year deal is a game changer that puts a huge kink in the idea that the Mets superlative starters will lead them to postseason glory in the next 3-5 years. The problem is, that for all his talent and impact as a player, Cespedes could become a Bay-like albatross by the final two years of five year pact. The wise move would be a heavily front-loaded deal with a buyout in year four. But the seemingly cash-strapped Mets probably can’t go that route and if the Nats are guaranteeing 5 years New York would probably need to meet or exceed that kind of commitment. This is a serious conundrum for the Metropolitans and its braintrust. Maybe they could go the Bonilla route and pay him into his golden years. The way Sandy should and probably will play it is by really selling the stardom factor of New York to Yoenis. That could save the team a few million on the bottom line at least.
It’s going to be an interesting 48-72 hours either way. If they let Cespedes sign with the Nats it would be a PR nightmare, rile up further a disgruntled fanbase and hinder the Mets chances of winning the NLeast let alone repeating as NL pennant winners. It would also be a s***storm that would linger into spring training and beyond. Sandy has to bite the bullet and sign Cespedes to a long term deal before the Nationals do. Would that be a hasty move? Probably, but can the Mets really expect lighting to strike twice with another deadline deal in 2016. Who could they get? Jay Bruce? Cargo? Corey Dickerson? And if so at what price? If you were Alderson would you want to take that chance? There are a lot of questions but in the end for Met fans really only one answer.