Sep 10, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits a home run during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports
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New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is one of the best free agents available this offseason. Here are five possible destinations for him this offseason.
The New York Mets will be doing all they can to keep outfielder Yoenis Cespedes this offseason after he opted out of his contract. To no surprise, Cespedes opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Mets in order to secure a new deal.
Last offseason, Cespedes was a free agent, but not too many teams were biting. Cespedes was great for the Mets in 2015, as he totaled a .287 batting average, 17 home runs, and 44 RBIs. The trade that brought Cespedes to New York helped them reach the World Series in 2015.
The price was not cheap to acquire Cespedes, as the Mets had to trade 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer to the Detroit Tigers. Due to the surplus of pitching the Mets have, the deal that sent Fulmer to Detroit was an easy one to make.
Like when the Mets made the trade for Cespedes, they still need him to be their anchor in the middle of the batting order. When Cespedes is out, the Mets offense is clearly lacking. Depending on what Cespedes decides to do this offseason, it will cause a domino effect for both the Mets and all other free agent outfielders.
As arguably the best free agent this offseason, here are five possible teams that Cespedes could sign with this offseason.
Sep 15, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) gets hugged by third baseman Todd Frazier (21) after his home run in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago White Sox
One of the teams that have struggled to live up to their potential in recent years has been the Chicago White Sox. As of now, the White Sox have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Chris Sale, but that has failed to get them anywhere. Sale has been a name that has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors, but he would take a ridiculous package for the White Sox to part ways with one of the premier left-handers in the game.
Last season, the White Sox were able to acquire third baseman Todd Fraizer with the hopes that he would be the missing piece to their offense. While Fraizer did hit 40 home runs last season, his batting average dropped like a stone to .225. Even with the addition of Fraizer, the White Sox were ranked 20th in baseball in runs scored last season.
With a pretty solid starting rotation led by Sale, the White Sox might look to try and add one more piece to help put their offense over the top. The addition of Cespedes would create a really great middle of the order for the White Sox with Jose Abreu and Frazier.
Finding a catcher will be tough in this free agent market for the White Sox upgrade behind the plate. If they don’t like the market for catchers, they might try to upgrade the offense through the outfield with the addition of Cespedes.
Oct 2, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
New York Yankees
Imagine the back pages of the New York newspapers if Cespedes went to the Yankees? Well, the fit is certainly there this offseason. The Yankees have done a very good job in recent years of holding back on their spending in free agency. Last season, we saw the Yankees make the decision to be sellers to help rebuild their farm system.
Even though the Yankees made the decision to be sellers at the trade deadline, they were in the playoff hunt into the final weeks of the season. The emergence of young players like Gary Sanchez will likely mean the Yankees won’t have to go through to long of a true rebuild like other teams.
In addition to having young talent on the way, the Yankees also have a lot of money to spend. One thing that the Yankees would like to accomplish this offseason would be the addition of a power-hitter.
As of now, the Yankees outfield is a bit crowded, but there have been rumors that the Yankees are willing to move Brett Gardner. If the Yankees do indeed move Gardner, it could be an indication that they are going to try and sign a power hitter to play in left field like Cespedes.
Oct 10, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) pitches against the Chicago Cubs in the fifth inning in game three of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco Giants
Another team that would be a good fit for Cespedes is the team that beat the Mets in the NL Wild Card Game last season. The Giants were unable to make it past the Chicago Cubs in the next round of the postseason, as they were outmatched by the eventual champions.
Last season, the Giants were ranked 19th in the league in runs scored. While the run production isn’t awful, it is certainly an area that the Giants can improve in. One of the reasons why the Giants struggled to score runs was because they didn’t have too much power in their lineup.
In 2016, the leader on the Giants in home runs was first baseman Brandon Belt with just 17. Not having a hitter have over 20 home runs even in a pitchers park is clearly a weakness for a team. Adding Cespedes as a powerful force in the middle of the order would really help the Giants compete with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
The balance of the Giants lineup has been good for them, but they might need a player like Cespedes to once again reach the World Series. It won’t be cheap, but Cespedes is exactly what the Giants need on offense.
Oct 2, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (7) hits a single during the sixth inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The Phillies have had some really poor years recently, but they were able to avoid being in the cellar of the NL East last season. Depending on how important winning right away is to Cespedes, the Phillies could sell him on being the face of the franchise in their rebuilding process.
If the Phillies were to sign Cespedes, it would likely be because they offered him the most amount of money this offseason. Stealing Cespedes away from the Mets would certainly be good for the Phillies chances of jumping them in the division down the road.
Last season, the Phillies did show signs of improvement in their lineup, as young players like Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco had nice seasons. In 2016, Franco was able to total 25 home runs and 88 RBIs in the middle of the order for the Phillies.
If the Phillies were able to add Cespedes into their outfield and the middle of their order, they would have a pretty solid looking lineup in the National League. The Phillies ranked near the bottom of the league in runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and batting average. The obvious need for them is to improve their offense and what better way to do that than the signing of Cespedes this offseason.
Sep 30, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) celebrates a victory against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The New York Mets won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
New York Mets
Just because Cespedes opted out of his contract with the Mets doesn’t mean that he will be leaving them. By all accounts, Cespedes likes playing in New York, and he has been extremely successful in his time with the Mets.
The decision to opt out was strictly a business move by Cespedes. He knows that he should be able to get a $100 million contract this offseason, and he made the smart decision to opt out. Now, the Mets will have to open up their wallets and give Cespedes what he wants to keep him.
If Cespedes left, it would be a huge blow to Mets. Even in 2015 when they made the World Series, their offense was awful prior to the trade that brought Cespedes to New York. General manager Sandy Alderson has done a better job getting some talent on the Mets, but they would be lacking something in the middle of the order if Cespedes left.
If Cespedes does leave, the Mets did pick up the option on Jay Bruce’s contract a few weeks ago. Bruce didn’t play well for the Mets after they acquired him at the trade deadline, but having him helps lessen the blow if Cespedes does leave.
Expect to see the Mets do close to whatever it takes to lock Cespedes up to a long-term deal.