The New York Mets made a huge splash on Tuesday, re-signing slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Rosenthal reports that the deal is a four-year, $110 million contract. It will also include a full no-trade clause. The deal is still pending a physical.
Cespedes' contract, at its $27.5 million annual average value, is the biggest free agent deal the Mets have ever completed. All time, Cespedes' deal ranks second in AAV for a position player, falling a few million short of Miguel Cabrera's current deal ($31 million/season).
Throughout the offseason, Cespedes had been connected to the Dodgers, Giants, Nationals and Yankees, in addition to the Mets. The latter, specifically, showed the most documented interest of the teams.
Regardless, though, Cespedes has enjoyed playing in New York, and it seemed as if he never wanted to leave, saying that "if I could spend the rest of my career with the Mets I would."
Without much thought, it is easy to see that Cespedes' deal is good for him. MLBTradeRumors.com projected him to earn a five-year, $125 million deal, so while he does not quite reach that mark in terms of total guarantee, he does surpass it in AAV.
Money aside, the deal provides some long-term stability. Cespede did sign a three-year deal with the Mets last offseason, but due to an opt-out clause after season one, it was as if he signed just a one-year pact. In 2016, Cespedes made $27.5 million, the same figure he will make over the next four years.
For the Mets, getting Cespedes back is very important, but it also provides some flexibility. Cespedes has been the heart of the Mets' lineup for the past year-and-a-half, serving them well offensively. Since Cespedes joined the team, the Mets are 110-79 when he appears in a game.
In terms of flexibility, New York could consider trading one of their outfielders due to the surplus they have at the position. The team now has four starting caliber outfield bats in Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Cespedes. In fact, Bruce's name has already been mentioned as a prime trade candidate.
Cespedes' deal has a lot of positives for the Mets, but mostly, it comes down to his ability to play good baseball.
Last season, Cespedes hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI over 543 plate appearances. He did miss some time with an injury, but according to FanGraphs, he was still worth 3.2 Wins Above Replacement.
One interesting bit from his last season performance was that Cespedes posted the highest walk rate, at 9.4 percent, of his career, leading to his highest on-base percentage since he first joined the league out of Cuba in 2012.
Though Cespedes has been in the league for only five years, he has spent time with the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers in addition to the Mets. This long-term contract with the no-trade clause could him to stay in one place for a long time, a benefit he has yet to enjoy during his big league career.
Philadelphia Phillies right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson and New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker accepted their one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offers on Monday, it was announced.
Hellickson and Walker will forego free agency this offseason and stay with their former clubs through at least the 2017 season.
All eight other players--including Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Ian Desmond, and Dexter Fowler--have declined their respective offers and will become free agents.
These players are free to sign with any team, however, their next club must forfeit their first unprotected draft pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. Their 2016 club, in return for losing the free agent, gains a compensation pick between the 1st- and 2nd-rounds. This is only the case, however, if the player signs somewhere other than their 2016 club.
Hellickson, 29, would have been one of the better free agents in a weak starting pitching class, but decided to accept the QO due to the draft pick concerns. He posted a very solid 12-10 record with a 3.71 ERA and a 154-45 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 189 innings with the Phillies last year. He was worth 3.2 fWAR.
As for Walker, he had season ending back surgery. With this in mind, it's possible that he decided to take the QO to rebuild his value going into next offseason. Despite this, however, he did have a good 2016 campaign, though slightly shortened. In 458 plate appearances, Walker hit for a .282/.347/.476 slash with 23 home runs and 55 RBI. He was worth 3.7 fWAR.
Hellickson and Walker become the fourth and fifth players, respectively, to take the qualifying offer in its short history. The first three (Colby Rasmus, Brett Anderson, Matt Wieters) all took their deals last year.
The qualifying offer systam as a whole has been looked at as an impediment to new free agents and could be scrapped with the Collective Bargaining Agreement set to expire this December.
The Atlanta Braves have signed right-handed pitcher Bartolo Colon on Friday, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported that Colon inked a one-year, $12.5 million contract with the team.
The Braves have been busy signing aging pitchers over the past two days. Colon marks the second move they have made for a starter over the age of 40, coming on the heels of the R.A. Dickey signing on Thursday.
Atlanta has been in the market for starting pitching throughout the offseason, with general manager John Coppollela noting that the team was looking to add one or two veteran arms. The 43-year-old Colon certainly fits that bill.
In 2016, Colon went 15-8 with a 3.43 ERA and a 128-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 191 2/3 innings pitched with the Mets. For him, his 2017 salary will be a nice raise over the $7.25 million he made last season.
The New York Mets have signed outfielder Tim Tebow to a minor league deal, as they announced. Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the deal.
According to James Wagner of the New York Times, Tebow will make a $100,000 signing bonus, the maximum a team is able to spend on an un-drafted free agent without it counting against their draft bonus pool.
Tebow, 29, is a former Heisman Trophy winner and National Football League quarterback with the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
He announced his intentions to transition to a baseball career in early August and held a workout for scouts on Aug. 30. Twenty-eight teams attended, as Tebow showed off his outfield skills, running and hitting off of former Major League pitchers. He gathered mixed reviews from scouts but they agreed he showed impressive power, hitting a 440-foot home run in batting practice.
The Mets were not the only team to show interest in Tebow, as the Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays were also reportedly considering offering him a contract.
Tebow has not played competitive baseball in 11 years, with his last full-time action coming in 2005 as a junior in high school. He was a top high school baseball talent that did garner some MLB Draft interest, but he did not play in his senior season to focus on football and was not drafted.
The Mets announced that Tebow will head to the Instructional League to begin his career.
The New York Mets have acquired right-handed relief pitcher Fernando Salas from the Los Angeles Angels, they announced.
In exchange, the Angels received right-handed pitching prospect Erik Manoah.
Salas will add depth to a Mets' relief pitching staff that already ranks among the best in the Majors. Anchored by closer Jeurys Familia, Mets' relief corps have posted a 4.4 fWAR this season, good for fifth in the Majors. Their ERA of 3.68 ranks eleventh.
The 31-year-old Salas is 3-6 with a 4.47 ERA and a 45-to-19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 56.1 innings pitched this season. He has a 4.64 FIP and a 4.50 xFIP, as well as a -0.2 fWAR.
The Mets, however, are buying stock in the recent version of Salas.
Over his last 20 appearances, Salas has a 2.60 ERA and a much improved 18-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17.1 innings. He has been serving as the Angels' closer recently, and he has saved four games in August alone.
Salas was arbitration eligible for the final time last offseason, meaning he will be a free agent at the end of the year. The Mets are adding him for a possible playoff run, where his back-end relief experience should come in good handy.
As for the Angels, a move of Salas, who is a rental, makes sense for a non-contending team.
In return, they got Manoah, who was the Mets' 13th round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. This season, in Class-A Short Season Brooklyn, Manoah is 5-5 with a 5.37 ERA and a 63-27 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 innings (13 games; 12 starts).