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Yoenis Cespedes Returns to the Mets, 4 years / $110 Million

Mets have agreed to terms with Yoenis Cespedes for 4 years, 110 million dollars, according to Ken Rosenthal. The contract is the 2nd biggest free agent contract the Mets have given, only behind Carlos Beltran’s 7 year/$119 million in 2005. The $27.5 annual average value of the contract matches Alex Rodriguez as the 7th highest AAV in MLB history. Miguel Cabrera’s AAV of $31 million a year is the only position player with a higher AAV in MLB history. The Mets have given Cespedes a full no trade clause within his contract.

Since joining the Mets at the 2015 trade deadline, Cespedes leads the team in home runs (48), slugging percentage (.554), OPS (.903) and 2nd in games played (189). Cespedes hit 31 home runs with 86 RBIs in 543 plate appearances in 2016.  It was the second consecutive year that he reached the 30 home run plateau. He ranked 12th among qualified hitters with a .251 ISO in 2016, matching his ISO from 2015, which has been steadily rising since his career low ISO of .190 in 2014.  Along with improving his power, Cespedes has been slowly increasing his On-base percentage, rising from .301 in 2014 to .354 in 2016. These improvements have  made Cespedes a lot more intriguing to the Mets, but the real question is if Cespedes can sustain these changes heading into 2017.

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The Mets had backups in place in case they had not been able to bring back Cespedes in the form of Jay Bruce, but with this deal, the Mets may be looking for trading partners to take Bruce off their hands. The outfield is still full, with Lagares, Granderson, Bruce, and Conforto to split time between the other two outfield positions. This move was the key to the Mets offseason; they needed to keep Cespedes around to avoid the black hole he would have left in the middle of the order. Along with Neil Walker accepting the qualifying offer, the Mets seem to be on the right track so far this offseason.

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