The New York Mets locked up Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday, inking the 31-year-old slugger to a four-year, $110 million deal.
“He probably deserved it,” USA Today MLB writer Bob Nightengale said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “(Going back to last year), he really got five years (for about) $136 million. That’s about the going rate for a slugger. He went out and took the gamble and he improved himself. He walked away from two years, so really what the Mets have done is give him a two-year extension, when you think about it.”
Cespedes, a two-time All-Star, hit .280 with 31 homers, 86 RBIs and a .354 OBP last season. After extending their best offensive player, however, the Mets may have to make some tough decisions regarding Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and others.
“They still got plenty of money,” Nightengale said. “They can do what they want. I think they shop all those guys and see what you get. I think the preference right be to trade Granderson just because he’s more streaky than Bruce. I think you’re going to see a better Bruce this year, and I’m not sure you’re going to get what you want for Bruce. You might have to pay down some of that contract or maybe you get a little bit more for Granderson. You can certainly get more for (Michael) Conforto if you want to. I wouldn’t trade that guy. I really wouldn’t. I wouldn’t give up on him this early.”
The same cannot necessarily be said for Bruce, who turns 30 in April. Bruce struggled mightily with the Mets last season, hitting .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in 50 games. By comparison, he hit .265 with 25 homers and 80 RBIs in 97 games with the Reds before getting dealt to New York before the deadline.
“I just think going from a small, little market like Cincinnati into the whirlwind of New York – all the media and everything else – I just think wasn’t a comfort,” Nightengale said. “I think he was very uncomfortable the whole time. He would never say so publicly or make excuses, but I think that’s what it was. But him going to spring training and being around everybody and getting acclimated, I think you’ll see a different Jay Bruce in 2017.”