Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal initially reported the deal on Tuesday. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported the contract is worth $110 million over four years. Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball reported it comes with a full no-trade clause. ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported Cespedes wanted a fifth year but New York held firm at four.
Heyman provided a yearly salary breakdown:
The deal is the second-biggest in Mets history after they paid Carlos Beltran $119 million over seven years.
Cespedes is hopeful he will be able to finish his career with the Mets, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com:
"This is the 3rd time we have acquired Yoenis in 17 months and it appears two legal separations has made the marriage stronger," general manager Sandy Alderson said, per Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Cespedes' choice of automobiles became one of the more enjoyable stories of spring training last year. Starting pitcher Brett Anderson assumed at least one car dealer is having a good day:
Joel Sherman of the New York Post is a fan of the move:
Sports Illustrated's Joe Sheehan raised concern with the no-trade clause, though:
Cespedes is coming off another solid season at the plate. He batted .280 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 132 games.
Last offseason, the then-30-year-old was coming off his best campaign. He was so good in the second half with the Mets that he entered the National League Most Valuable Player discussion.
Despite his success in the Big Apple, he signed what was effectively a one-year deal—three years, $75 million with an opt-out after 2016. While his performance dipped slightly, Cespedes was bound to command a premium in what is a lackluster free-agent market.
Cespedes was arguably the best hitter available this offseason. Edwin Encarnacion (33) and Jose Bautista (36) are both older, while Justin Turner and Ian Desmond don't boast the same body of work.
Despite that, signing Cespedes comes with concerns.
Since making the jump to the United States, his numbers have fluctuated somewhat from one year to the next, as FanGraphs shows:
|Yoenis Cespedes Offensive Production (2012-2016)|
In addition to his hitting dropping slightly from 2015, his defense fell off a cliff in 2016. According to FanGraphs, he had a 15.6 ultimate zone rating a year ago, which dropped to minus-6.7 this year. His defensive runs saved fell from 11 to minus-3.
On a less quantifiable level, Cespedes' behavior off the field can leave a little to be desired.
During the season, the Mets had to tell him to refrain from golfing while he was on the disabled list after it created negative media attention, per ESPN.com's Adam Rubin. The New York Daily News' John Harper wrote Cespedes didn't celebrate with his teammates after the team secured an NL wild-card spot.
Rubin wrote in October about the Mets' concern regarding Cespedes' motivation were he to sign a long-term deal:
General manager Sandy Alderson generally is averse to longer-term deals, and there is particular concern that Cespedes might not provide maximum effort for the duration of a lengthy contract without the carrot of an opt-out clause.
Baseball executives believe Cespedes favors getting money up front, so perhaps a front-loaded, shorter-term deal could work, despite the Mets' pessimism.
When a star is delivering results, eccentric behavior is embraced—or at least tolerated. When he's not meeting expectations, that won't hold true.
For all of his greatness, Barry Bonds' surly personality was his undoing as he reached the twilight of his MLB career. Manny Ramirez wore out his welcome with the Boston Red Sox despite being a beloved figure among the fanbase for years prior.
None of that is to say Cespedes will start having a negative impact on the Mets clubhouse.
In January, David Wright spoke highly of Cespedes.
"I will put my name behind the statement that Yo was a good teammate on the field and a great teammate off the field," he said in an interview with the New York Daily News' Kristie Ackert.
Keeping Cespedes is risky; a return to his less impressive Boston Red Sox days isn't out of the question.
The Mets had little choice but to make every effort to re-sign Cespedes, though. Losing him would have been a crippling blow to the lineup.
The past year demonstrated that New York can't afford to assume its young starting rotation will guarantee continued title contention. The front office needs to do everything it can to capitalize on its World Series window, and signing Cespedes sends the message the team is willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal.