Yoenis Cespedes remains on the free-agent board, and as the calendar steams toward spring training, it’s possible that his chances of landing the six-year deal he desires could be diminishing. But a reunion with the cost-conscious Mets still looks unlikely, according to sources, partly because enough of a market exists for Cespedes to keep his price tag out of reach.
The Tigers’ agreement with Justin Upton on a six-year, $132.75-million deal removed another potential suitor for Cespedes, which theoretically helps the Mets’ chances. But according to industry sources, the White Sox, Angels, Astros and the NL East rival Nationals are still viewed as possible landing spots.
None of those teams appears prepared to offer an Upton-like deal. Nevertheless, within the industry, some belief exists that at the very least Cespedes could still land a three- or four-year deal, which would be sweetened by a higher annual average value and a valuable opt-out clause.
The Mets still need a righthanded-hitting outfielder and have remained in contact with Cespedes’ agents throughout the offseason, as general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged once more on Tuesday night during a gathering of season-ticket holders. He did not elaborate on the nature of that communication
Upton’s free agency also may prove instructive in terms of what lies ahead for Cespedes, the slugger whose second-half surge powered the Mets into the postseason. The Tigers seemingly shifted course to land Upton, whose deal is expected to be formally announced Wednesday. They previously were linked to Cespedes, whom they dealt to the Mets at the July 31 trade deadline.
The Angels have been known to spend under owner Arte Moreno, but they have been quiet. Although they have been dissuaded this winter by the threat of going over the luxury-tax threshold, the Tigers proved once more that clubs can be compelled to shift directions in response to the market.
The White Sox may be compelled to move, given the Tigers’ aggressiveness in their effort to reassert their prominence in the AL Central. The Nationals also could use another bat as they enter the season hoping to unseat the Mets.
The Nationals and Astros expressed interest in Upton, according to a USA Today report, a signal of their desire to add the kind of punch that Cespedes would provide. The Braves also were in on Upton, according to Fox Sports, and could shift gears to pursue Cespedes.
Mets prospect suspended for PEDs. Mets third-base prospect Eudor Garcia received an 80-game suspension without pay for violating baseball’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday. Garcia, 21, tested positive for bumetanide and furosemide, according to MLB. Both are known masking agents.
Chosen in the fourth round of the 2014 draft out of El Paso Community College, Garcia hit .296/.340/.442 in 105 games with Class-A Savannah last season. His suspension begins at the start of the South Atlantic League season.