The New York Mets and OF Yoenis Cespedes have agreed to keep the 31 year-old in the Big Apple for four more years with a whopping $110MM price tag ($27.5MM Average Annual Value). After opting out of his 3yr/$75MM contract he signed a year ago, Cespedes quickly became the No. 1 player on the market this offseason. With consecutive 30+ HR seasons under his belt, the Mets knew they needed to keep their heart of the lineup intact. The former prized Cuban prospect has emerged as one of the game's best hitters with a Silver Slugger award and back-to-back top-15 finishes in the MVP race proving his worth.
How this affects New York's OF future outlook: With Cespedes' potential departure after the 2016 season, GM Sandy Alderson acquired Jay Bruce from the Reds to help anchor the lineup, but that move quickly became a disaster in 2016 and Bruce now finds himself back on the trade market with Cespedes now on the payroll for the next four seasons. Cespedes' signing gives the Mets five starting-caliber outfielders with Cespedes, Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, and Michael Conforto all under contract in 2017. That doesn't even include Brandon Nimmo who made a solid first impression in 2016. Granderson and Bruce are both free agents at the end of the year. Assuming the team isn't ready to give Conforto, Lagares, or Nimmo regular at-bats, they're best bet might to trade Bruce or Granderson for an everyday center fielder. Since Cespedes reportedly wants no part of center field and Conforto and Wuilmer Becerra looking like promising corner outfielders themselves, the Mets will definitely have to make some moves for a center fielder. At least one to keep the position warm until Desmond Lindsay is ready for the show in 2020.
How this affects New York's overall future outlook: There's no denying how much of an impact Cespedes had on the Mets' lineup the past year and a half. The record speaks for itself. With Cespedes, the Mets are 106-74 (59%) compared to 18-23 (44%) without him. With him back to anchor the lineup, the Mets can now focus on acquiring a center fielder and a set-up man to strengthen the bullpen.
Bottom Line: The Mets brought back their heart of the lineup on only a four-year commitment, albeit with a high AAV ($27.5MM).