Posted by Will Kay at 2:40 PM
The 2017 MLB free agent market is pretty weak. After a couple power hitters, the pickings are slim. That makes the best players available all the more valuable to teams looking for a piece. One of those power hitters who finds himself being Mr. Popular is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes has played the last season and a half with the New York Mets before opting out of his final two years and declining the team's qualifying offer to become a free agent. He has been great as a New Yorker, making waves off the field with his headline-worthy vehicles and golfing while mashing on the field to the tune of a 155 OPS+ with the Mets in 2015 and a 133 OPS+ last season.
Because of his skills, the Mets obviously want him back, and Cespedes has made it clear he would be open to a return, making them the favorites to sign the Cuban All-Star. A number of other teams are interested in his services as well, though. Free agency is a back-and-forth affair with posturing, haggling, negotiating and, occasionally, using the media against the other side. New York general manager Sandy Alderson was quoted as saying, in regards to signing the outfielder back, "I think we're going to have to wait a while."
Alderson made it clear that the organization has been in contact with Cespedes' agent and also received texts directly from the man himself. That's a good sign in terms of Cespedes' desire to return to the Big Apple, but there is certainly a bidding war that will begin with as many as three other competitors. It isn't immediately clear who those other franchises are, but many teams could use a player of Cespedes' caliber. ESPN's Jim Bowden listed the following teams as great fits for him: Mets, Orioles, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Phillies and Astros, though the Astros made this list before they signed Josh Reddick.
If Alderson is worried this process could get dragged out as teams battle back and forth, Cespedes is not. He specifically came out and said he did not want this process to drag out and would hope to sign by early December.
Other than communications with management, the Mets have some of their players taking responsibility for attempting to bring the slugger back as well. Jose Reyes has reportedly been in contact with Cespedes, explaining how the team wants him and every lineup needs "a player like Cespy."
Curtis Granderson also publicly exclaimed his desire to have Cespedes return to the Mets, citing the latter's ability. Though Granderson was quick to clarify that if the team unfortunately did not retain Cespy, the team will continue to move forward.
That movement forward would certainly be hampered, but there would be other options if the Mets strike out in their attempt to bring back Cespedes. Outfield has a few pieces on Cespedes' tier or slightly below. New York also has the option of building platoons with the lefty-heavy outfield they have returning. Cespedes is certainly option number one.