Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Yoenis Cespedes open to contract extension with Mets

Mets fans have been giddy with optimism after acquiring Yoenis Cespedes before the trade deadline, and those Metsies might be in a tizzy when they find out the slugger might not just be a late-season rental.

The team’s newest outfielder offered a open-ended answer when asked Tuesday about the possibility of a contract extension.
"This is something that I can't control," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "I don't know what the front office is thinking about. But [from] what I see so far, I would love for everything to work out and stay with the Mets for a long, long time."

After just three games in a Mets uniform, Cespedes raved about his new team's dynamic young starting pitching and the atmosphere in the clubhouse.

However, putting together an extension could prove problematic for Cespedes, who was acquired from the Tigers just before Friday's trade deadline.

The Mets would need to make an offer enticing enough for Cespedes to forgo testing the open market — at a time when a power-hitting skill set is at a premium. Sources yesterday pegged Cespedes' potential asking price on the open market to be in the $120 million-$150 million range, depending on the length of his next contract.

With the exception of David Wright's contract extension, the skinflint Mets in recent years have shown little regard for awarding such long-term commitments.

Also, if the 29-year-old Cespedes doesn't sign an extension and reaches the open market this winter, a clause in his contract essentially keeps the Mets from bidding on his services.

Players typically must gain six years of major-league service time to qualify for free agency. But because of his experience in Cuba, Cespedes negotiated a clause that forces him to be released at the end of the season.

Cespedes would then be free to sign elsewhere— no different from other free agents — even though he would have only four years of service time.

If he does not sign an extension by five days after the World Series, then the Mets must release him because of the clause. That would mean the Mets could no longer sign him in the offseason because any player released after Aug. 31 cannot be re-signed by that club until May 15. Nor can the Mets make Cespedes a qualifying offer.

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