Richard Herr - Signing Ces'


The Mets definitely need to sign Yoenis Cespedes. However, Sandy Alderson is stumbling over the length of the contract to tender the outfielder. He wants to offer about three years; Yoenis wants about five. This isn’t a unique problem. Players want the guarantee of a contract that stretches into a time when their performance begins to fade. A prime example is A-Rod’s contract. The Yanks had to pay him off for the (very expensive) last two years of his contract, when he could no longer perform on the field. He was only a designated hitter, and even in those limited duties, he was low to mediocre.
Those parenthetical words above are the problem: very expensive. I don’t understand why teams don’t structure long-term contracts to make them less onerous over their final years. It’s rumored that Yoenis is looking for something like a five-year contract for about $100 million. Some rumors say more, but we will be talking about the area of management’s initial offer. If it were $20 million a year, it might be a drag on the payroll in those last two years, the years that Sandy doesn’t want to offer. However, what if the contract was front-loaded and paid out the years in these amounts: First year, $30 million; second year, $25 million; third year, $20 million; fourth year, $15 million; fifth years, $10 million?
That’s five years, $100 million, but the last two years are at the relatively lower figures of $15 and $10 million. Those numbers would allow the Mets to ship a still-productive-but-gimpy Yoenis off to a designated-hitter team that would welcome his bat in the order. Even if he was totally unproductive, the $25 million payoff would be far less onerous than a full $40 million of a balanced contract.
Obviously the numbers on the contract could be fudged to make it competitive. For instance bumping the third year up to $25 million takes the overall contract up to $105 million, but there is still a relatively small amount at risk in the last two years of the contract. An opt-out could be offered for those last years of the contract if Yo and his agent feel he’ll be worth more at that time.
I’m surprised this kind of contract isn’t more wide-spread throughout baseball. It seems like most teams want to forget about the final years of a large contract, like putting a large charge on a credit card and worry about paying for it later.

Whenever Richard Herr isn’t anguishing about the play of the Mets, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels. You can see his books at




Thomas Brennan said...

Great inaugural article, sir.

I think what you suggest is a great idea...I have felt that way about Grandy's contract - but having too steep a decline might bother a guy in years 4 and 5 if he defies the odds and stays top-tier in performance. He might feel underpaid and it might affect his performance. Lower at the end would certainly make the guy more tradable, though.

Welcome aboard. Adding pictures is easy if you choose to. If not sure how, shoot us an e mail. Reese and Mack are better at it than me :)

Mack Ade said...


Reese Kaplan said...

The team has some attitude issues in the front office. It still seems as if being the smartest guy in the room or finding the biggest bargain precedes the desire to win.

Eddie Corona said...

Good article... Great thought...
I think team always believe their player would out perform and could trade the player and thus have some other team pay the bulk of the contract... I haven't seen that scenario play out yet..

Anonymous said...

The Mets could also sign Encarnacion instead while keeping Bruce and trading Granderson and Duda. In that scenario, both Conforto and Lagares have spots open to them and Encarnacion production is just as good if not better than Cespedes.

Reyes, Cabrera, Conforto, Encarnacion, Bruce, Walker, d'Arnaud, Lagares. Not too bad.

As far as Sandy is concern, remember that he is a Genius in his own mind but hasn't done much lately.

Hobie said...

Nice thoughts , Rich, (and I will check out your Sc-Fi.)

Tulo's contract, BTW, peaks in 15-19, than drops in 20-21, with All-Star & GG incentives to raise it back up.
So that may be another model, front-loaded with incentives to reduce/prevent decline.

Richard Herr said...

Good points all around. On yours, Thomas, if Ces is as good in '19 as he was in '16, he should use the third-year opt-out. At that point, I think both parties would be happy to renegotiate the last two years.
Anonymouse - I prefer Ces. He's shown he can light up this Mets' lineup. Try this one: go back over your suggestion but substitute for Encarnacion the name Jason Bay.

Robb said...

Whenever i think about how id do it, i always end up at 30 for the first year, 27, 24, 22, 6/22. which comes out to 4 yrs/ 109 0r 5 yr 125

so either he averages just over 27 or 25, which seems fair to me. you could probably play with the drops between years but you could probably add some incentives int the last year too

Stubby said...

Not for nothin', but that picture is Familia, not Cespedes.

eraff said...

30,30, 30.

4th year...Player Option: 25 million
5th Year, Team Option/10 million Buyout....25 million

This guarantees Ces:

90 for 3
115 for 4: 28.75 avg
140 if he does all 5....... 28 million per avg
130 over 4, if the team opts out: 32.5

It places him in position to get another deal at 33/34...at his choosing.
He is also positioned to get a new deal if the team does a buyout after 4

It is Front loaded....it is rich....it places hom in position to leverage results as a YOUNG ENUFF player to get even more at any point that the agreement is completed or ended along the way....by him or the Mets, withing the Options built in.

I believe he will sign a deal in this type of format.

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