Herb G: Alderson, the Master Fisherman, reels in Cespedes - 3 Yrs/$75 MM


In a bold stroke of General Managership, Sandy Alderson pulled off what virtually all the pundits said was impossible; getting Yoenis Cespedes to sign a short term deal. As in numerous other situations, Alderson’s extreme patience payed off. While rumors continued to swirl that Cespedes was seeking a long term contract of 5 or 6 years in the neighborhood of $150 million, a stone faced Alderson held firm, insisting that he wanted Cespedes, but for not more than three years. Then, a few days ago, motivated by arch rival Washington’s offer of 5 years/$100+ million, Sandy pulled out all the stops. He was, of course, assisted by the fact that Yoenis deeply desired to return to the Mets, and therefore instructed his agents, Roc Nation, to approach the Mets when he was confronted with Washington’s bid.

As the two parties danced in the most unlikely mating ritual, Alderson found the keys to bring Cespedes home on his terms; an opt out clause after one year, and the second highest annual salary of any position player in the majors. Despite not getting the long term deal he wanted, Cespedes can brag about the fact that he can enter free agency again next year in a much leaner outfielder class, and that in the interim, he will receive $27.5 million, second among position players, only to Miguel Cabrera’s AAV of $31 million. And the Mets get that huge bat for the middle of the lineup they so sorely needed. The addition of Cespedes should clearly establish the Mets as the favorite (or perhaps co-favorite with the Cubs) to represent the NL in the 2016 World series.

The signing of Cespedes is a tribute to Sandy Alderson, not only for initiating this deal, but for creating a winning culture and assembling the group of players, coaches and a manager who established a clubhouse chemistry and camaraderie that a player like Cespedes felt he had to return to. He has made the New York Mets into a highly desired destination for any major league player to aspire. And it is a tribute to the owners, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, who approved the $75 million contract and a $27.5 increase in the 2016 payroll, when it was already at the point that Sandy had said it would be this year. According to my figures, the payroll for the 25 man opening day roster stands at $136.37 million. With an additional estimated $5 million for fringe players and minor leaguers to whom the Mets are committed, the opening day payroll will likely be something north of $140 million. I wonder if that will keep the many Wilpon detractors, those who have been screaming for them to sell the team, quiet for at least the next few days.


Thomas Brennan said...

Great article, Herb. This critic will be quiet for some time to come, perhaps a VERY long time.

Mack Ade said...

Took a Yo signing to get Herb back as a writer :)

Thanks Yo.

Ernest Dove said...

Its gonna be fun watching the Mets contend for playoff births and division titles for the remainder of this decade. Lets go Mets !!!!

Metsiac said...

Maybe for a few days, but until I see positive vibes from my friend Reese I don't expect much. ��

eraff said...

Ok...The Wilpons have started spending Money--I'll STOP Retracting.... Simple!

eraff said...

Detracting (Ouch!!!)

Adam Smith said...

This is a terrific deal. Well played on all sides. It speaks to the kind of clubhouse (and pitching staff) this FO has built, and also speaks, I think to just how toxic the Nats' situation is.

Though this is essentially a one-year contract with some insurance for the player in case he has a down or injury-filled year, it is exactly what the lineup needed, and better we should get him for one season than not at all. I still think that their plan is to trade Harvey after 2016 for a package that includes a young, cost-controlled high-upside OF to put in the middle of the lineup long-term.

I would really like to see one of two things happen now - either get Cespedes to play some RF so Granderson can sit and Lagares can play CF vs lefties (possible), or switch Granderson and Conforto (not bloody likely) so that Cespedes can slide over to LF vs lefties. I'm assuming here that we'd rather have Granderson sit vs lefties most of the time rather than Conforto.

Overall, huge, huge signing. I am pleased (and surprised) that the Wilpons ponied up $27 mil, and also pleased that we didn't hamstring the org with a 6 year deal on Cespedes - not that I ever thought that was a possibility.

Congrats all. it's going to be a fun year.

Herb G said...

Thanks, Thomas and Mack.

Adam - I agree that it is essentially a 1 year deal. The upside is that if Sandy is unable to land a young slugging outfielder (Randal Grichuk?) for Harvey or a passel of prospects, they can still be in the market to resign Ces. And if they let Ces walk, they get an extra draft pick in addition to the one I think they will get when Walker walks. That could mean 3 high round picks in 2017.

I also like the idea of playing Cespedes in RF (where his bazooka arm works to his advantage) against lefties, resting Grandy. Or maybe try Grandy in center during Spring Training to see if he is any better than Cespedes there. After all, he was the Yankees (ptooy) regular CF.

And speaking of Spring Training tryouts, does anyone else think it makes some sense to give Flores some time in LF, so that he can play occasionally against lefties when Conforto needs a rest? I know they spoke of giving him reps at 1B, but that was before the Cespedes signing.

Mack's Mets © 2012