New York made one of its biggest moves of the off-season Friday night, signing free agent Yoenis Cespedes to a three-year, $75 million deal.
Cespedes reportedly had numerous other offers. Here is why he took the deal from the Mets.
1) Opt-out clause has more upside than you think
Agent Scott Boras discussed opt-out clauses during Wei-Yin Chen's introductory Marlins Press conference earlier this week, noting how valuable they are to the player. Cespedes is not represented by Boras, but in an off-season during which most free agent contracts have included at least one opt-out, it is no surprise Cespedes received one.
Cespedes' deal with the Mets includes an opt-out after the first season, which only directly benefits him. Some organizations felt signing Cespedes was risky and feared regression, according to multiple reports. He did not sign a long-term deal, but if Cespedes has a notable amount of success in 2015, he will almost certainly opt-out and test the market again.
A dominant 2016 campaign would likely result in Cespedes signing a deal comparable to the one the Nationals wanted to give him (five-years, $100+ million).
Why would Cespedes not take this deal from the Mets with the opt-out after a season, though? Success is more money, and if he struggles, Cespedes is still getting paid well.
2) Highest AAV salary for position player this winter, no deferred money
If Cespedes opts out after 2016, he will be paid $27.5 million and receive a new contract. But if he remains with the Mets, he will still be paid around $25 million per season, the highest annual average value salary to be given to a free agent position player this winter.
Should Cespedes produce consistently, he will be paid very well. And if he doesn't? He will still be paid well.
Money is money, but since some teams appeared open to overpaying, this is a win-win for Cespedes.
3) Full no-trade clause
Look, the Mets love Cespedes and the feelings appear to be mutual. It is unlikely the Mets move Cespedes while he is under contract. But this is still a key part of the deal.
Let's just say Cespedes thrives in year one, remains with the Mets, and has success in year two. After a few productive seasons, the Mets fear this time Cespedes will want to take an extensive deal they are not necessarily in a position to give him after the third season.
Several clubs are interested and the Mets want something in return before the non-waiver trade deadline. Cespedes has complete control and has the right to say yes or no. For Cespedes in such a situation, the full no-trade clause is key.
4) He is playing where he wants to play
Yoenis Cespedes is not all about the money. How do we know? He could have earned well over $100 million if he accepted Washington's proposal.
Cespedes wanted to return to New York and he used fans and the media to make that clear.
Kudos for the Mets for not changing their offer while truly knowing where Cespedes wanted to play in 2016. Cespedes enjoyed his time with the Mets and the Mets got a deal done.
5) Need an outfielder next winter? Good luck.
Don't look now, but there are not many big name free agent outfielders on the market next off-season.
Steve Pearce will probably be one of the biggest names available in left field. The same goes for Carlos Gomez in center and Jose Bautista in right. But why does it matter?
If Cespedes does have success and opts out after one year, he could receive another large contract next winter. Based on the impending free agent outfield class, that seems to be increasingly likely.