Will Kay - Mets make qualifying offer to Walker and Cespedes


On Monday, the New York Mets tendered qualifying offers to two of their top sluggers from last season, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker. Both players received a one-year, $17.2 million offer that they have until next Monday to accept or decline. If they decline the offer, each player would be free to sign with another club, but because the offers were tendered, the Mets would receive a supplementary first round pick for both Walker and Cespedes if they sign elsewhere.

Based on how things stand right now, it is likely that Walker will accept his offer, while Cespedes will not. Despite having a strong season, Walker was forced to shut it down early due to a back injury. He underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk on September 8th. While he is progressing nicely in his rehab, which is why the Mets were comfortable making the qualifying offer, the injury and the draft pick it would now require to sign him, might make teams weary of making a move.

Additionally, accepting the offer makes sense for Walker because he knows the Mets want him and after making $10.55 million on the one-year contract he signed last offseason, the current offer would give him a raise and since it is another one-year deal, a chance to parlay a good season into a multi-year deal next offseason. While it is likely he will return, even if he decides to leave, the Mets should still be in good shape at second base.

While the picture with Walker seems clearer, things are murkier with Cespedes.
Fans are starting to grow concerned that they will lose another big slugger in this offseason, after seeing Murphy go last year. In opting out of his current contract, Cespedes is leaving $47.5 million of guaranteed money on the table over the next two years. Broken down, that’s $23.75 million per season, over $6 million more per year than the current one-year $17.2 million the Mets are currently offering. Add to that the fact that the Mets already seemed prepared to lose their All-Star outfielder and it seems pretty clear that both sides are going to move on.

From Cespedes’ point of view, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to accept the offer or even return to the Mets. Prior to making the qualifying offer, the Mets had not engaged Cespedes in contract talks, even though they knew he was going to opt out of his current deal. The team has also expressed a concern about offering a long-term deal both because Mets GM Sandy Alderson typically doesn’t like doing that (the longest contract he’s given is a four-year deal to Curtis Granderson in December 2013) and the Mets are also concerned about what kind of work ethic they would get in return. Cespedes’ work ethic was also called into question last offseason.

All that being the case, it would make sense that Cespedes would look for a team that is willing to offer the long-term deal (and big pay day) he is seeking, while also not having concerns over his work ethic once the contract is signed. Regardless of what happens, expect a resolution to come quickly in terms of whether or not the Mets want Cespedes to return. The team has said they want to have things wrapped up, one way or the other, by the end of the league meetings in December.


Mack Ade said...

Will -

I agree with your assessment and have my own thoughts on this in a future post.

I expect one of the big dollar teams to swoop in on Cespedes.

My guess- LAD 4/yrs, $130mil

Thomas Brennan said...

Great article, Will.

I had a conversation with someone at work yesterday about Cespedes' box office power. Simply put, if Duda and Cespedes put up the exact same HR, RBI, and average next year, I still would NOT go out of my way to see a team with Duda in the line up, but I WOULD go out of my way to see Cespedes. That incremental gate appeal has to be worth $20 - $30 million above value over 4 years compared to a milquetoast player with the same production. I still do whatever it takes to keep him here. The Yankees would not have let Mickey Mantle walk. Cespedes would have hit 40 last year were it not for his leg injury - he is worth the bucks.

Thomas Brennan said...

More Tim Tebow positive thoughts:

Against pitchers that would blow away most Mets lower minor league OFs, Tebow in his last 9 games has 7 hits and 2 walks.

And only 13 Ks in 49 plate appearances; heck, Champ Stuart has played for 4 years and he has 17 Ks in 54 plate appearances. I find a guy's ability to avoid Ks to be a huge indicator of possible future success.

Both Cecchini and Nimmo started out 10 for 55 in AAA last year, and both had great seasons thereafter.

Tebow himself feels he is making lots of progress.

I am impressed.

Anonymous said...

I am probably in the minority in thinking that the Mets need to probably take a step back in 2018 in order to put a more balanced and better team starting in 2018.

The way to accomplish this is to hope that the starters start the year healthy and perform as expected. That Walker starts where he left off and that Duda stays healthy.

Then, somewhere around the All Star and depending where the Mets are in the standing, you start to gauge the interest level for possible trades of Harvey, Walker, Duda, Cabrera, Bruce, Granderson. Now, I am not saying trading them all but just a few that are expected to be replaced from the minors. Duda with Smith, Cabrera with Rosario, Walker with Flores/TJ/Cecchenni, etc.

Players like Conforto, Smith, Rosario, Lagares should play everyday and in 2018, the Mets should go out and sign whatever players are missing in order to have a team that can compete every year. Trading Harvey should bring back a major player or great prospects no more than a year away and Walker, Cabrera should bring good prospects back to replenish the minors.

Eddie Corona said...

to Anonymous... I agree and disagree...
I don't want to see a step back in the sense that we should attempt to put together a team that can compete and win the division... But also recognize when you have a deal that could improve you significantly you make a move... so if we end up with walker and a gm offers a deal we should take trade him provided you can adequately compensate the loss (like a Rosario is ready to step in)... unfortunately in the case of Harvey that one may have passed... If he is truly dominant why or how could we trade him when we could have a chance at a WS...but if he isn't dominate would we receive a deal that would make sense trading him?

Reese Kaplan said...

I felt the QO was a mistake and have said so several times. They will find him accepting it, that's for sure. In an odd way, his accepting the offer probably means the end of Bartolo Colon's days in Queens as he becomes an expensive luxury they will trim in order to pay for Walker. Of course, losing Cespedes does open up another nearly $25 million but you have to replace the offense somewhere.

Thomas Brennan said...

You might be rightly aligned with management there.

Thomas Brennan said...

Lots of intrigue this off season.

Eddie Corona said...

hey Thomas /Reese
I just saw that Chris archer is set to make
$4.75 million in 2017,
$6.25 million in 2018, and
$7.50 million in 2019. After that third year, he has
$8.25 million options for 2020 and 2021,
with $1.75 million buyouts each season.

How is it possible that Tampa seems to be able to make these types of deals but Our Mets could not Lock up Thor, harvey or Degrom (these 3 in particular) to something like that...
OK maybe Harvey would not have accepted it but it think Degrom could have...
I mean what a team friendly contract and Archer has been every bit as good as our boys and Archer plays in the AL East...

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie, our management abhors spending before it's time. Good point you raise.

Thomas Brennan said...

Eddie, our management abhors spending before it's time. Good point you raise.

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