Yoenis Cespedes – 31 years old
New York Mets
Five days after the World Series concludes, Yoenis Cespedes has the opportunity to opt out of the remaining two years ($47,500,000) of his contract with the New York Mets.
Cespedes hinted during the season that he may play out the final two years, which remains within the realm of possibility, but opting out would immediately make him the number one free agent available. He could also use the opt-out clause as leverage against the Mets for an extension, providing him with the best of both worlds.
Assuming the likely outcome of Cespedes hitting the market, there will inevitably be calls from the Blue Jays faithful for their team to make a run as the star Cuban. Besides, with excellent attendance and back-to-back playoff runs padding ownership’s wallet, there’s got to be a chance… Right?
Cespedes is a game-changing talent, and strictly in terms of what he brings to the table as a baseball player, of course the Blue Jays would be thrilled to add him.
Not only is Cespedes an offensive powerhouse with 40-homer potential, he posted an excellent on-base percentage with the Mets in 2016 with a career high in walks (51). His defence in left field in a plus and, like many others in this conversation, Cespedes comes with the natural athleticism needed to be an upgrade to Toronto’s team speed.
In reality, where we must unfortunately exist, Cespedes is a pipe dream in Toronto. Any free agent contract signed by Cespedes would likely take him in to his late 30s at a price tag at or above $25 million per season. Toronto could stomach that for a can’t-miss player over the next three to four seasons with Martin’s and Tulowitzki’s deals ending, but a sixth and seventh year for Cespedes would extend into Toronto’s “unknown”. The same goes for nearly all teams, but don’t expect for the Blue Jays to have the highest appetite for risk among all potential suitors.
A fun thought, but little more. Besides, wouldn’t all of that money look so much better going towards Joey Votto? (I apologize).
One Last Name: A very, very familiar trade target