Cespedes, 30, hit .291/.328/.542 with 35 homers, 42 doubles and 105 RBI last season, including a .287/.337/.604 slash line with 17 homers, 14 doubles and 44 RBI in 57 games after his trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Mets.
Before Cespedes’ arrival, the Mets were last in the majors in runs per game (3.54) and OPS (.662). After he joined the lineup, they were third in runs per game (5.39) and second in OPS (.794).
During his four-year major-league career, Cespedes is a .271/.319/.486 hitter with 106 homers and 367 RBI.
There was a time Thursday when it appeared as if Cespedes were headed to the division-rival Washington Nationals, who reportedly offered him a five-year deal. Earlier this offseason, the Nationals signed free-agent second baseman Daniel Murphy, who spent the first seven seasons of his major-league career with the Mets.
Instead, Cespedes will return to the team he helped lead to the postseason and eventually to the World Series. Cespedes was traded from Detroit to New York last July 31 and became an instant hit in his new home. He launched 17 home runs in 57 games, powering the Mets to their first World Series appearance since 2000. Kansas City won in five games.
Cespedes gives the Mets the power bat they needed in the middle of their lineup. With a rotation full of young aces, the Mets felt it was a must to get somebody to drive in runs.
Cespedes twice has won the All-Star Home Run Derby, including the 2013 crown at Citi Field. Along with his hitting, he won an AL Gold Glove for his four months in the Detroit outfield last year. He split time in center field and left field for the Mets.
Cespedes has hit 106 homers in four seasons with Oakland, Boston, Detroit and the Mets and was an All-Star in 2014. The flashy Cuban seemed to fit in neatly inside the Mets clubhouse and had indicated he felt comfortable in New York.
If Cespedes left after one year, the $27.5 million would tie Alex Rodriguez for the second-richest average annual value of a contract by a position player. Miguel Cabrera’s deal averages $29.2 million per year with Detroit.
As of now, the free agent class for outfielders next fall is far weaker than the deep field this year, with a steep drop-off after Jose Bautista.