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.