Mets And Yoenis Cespedes Agree To Deal

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It is being reported by FOX Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal that the New York Mets have come to terms on a deal with free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The deal is reportedly going to be the biggest free agent deal in Mets history.The reported specifics detail Cespedes receiving a four-year $110 million deal. The deal will pan out to an average of $27.5 million dollars a year for the 31-year old slugger. While the amount isn’t as nearly as surprising, the length of the contract certainly is. It was being widely reported that Cespedes was looking for a five-year contract on the open market and teams such as the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals were lurking in the background. Cespedes will receive full no-trade protection and is only behind Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera in terms of annual average salary for a position player in MLB history. Cespedes will however hold the top annual average salary ever for any outfielder with this deal.

It is a big get for Sandy Alderson and company as they look to return to the World Series after last year’s Wild Card round elimination. The Mets have not had an impactful bat in their lineup since Carlos Beltran, and Cespedes has proven to be that and more over his season and a half with the team. He has fully embraced New York and New York has fully embraced him. In 189 games played for the Mets since coming over during the 2015 MLB Trade Deadline Cespedes has hit .282 with 48 home runs and 130 RBI’s.

Now that this deal has been completed, the Mets can focus their attention in other directions in regards to improving the roster. Jay Bruce is highly likely to be traded after this signing and it will be interesting to see what the Mets will want in return. There had already been speculation earlier this month that both the Blue Jays and Mets were talking about a deal involving the 29-year old outfielder. The hot stove is getting hotter with the Winter Meetings around the corner, and the Mets for the first time in quite some time dug deep in their pockets to get their guy.

 

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Neil Walker Accepts Qualifying Offer

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Coming down to the 5 p.m. deadline, second baseman Neil Walker has accepted the Mets one-year $17.2 million qualifying offer. Walker posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon: “Happy to say I’m back in Orange and Blue for 2017!! Let’s go Mets!”

While Yoenis Cespedes obviously declined the Mets qualifying offer, there had been recent speculation stating that Walker was contemplating accepting the offer, which he indeed now has done. The 31-year old second baseman was having one of the best seasons of his career before his season was cut short in August due to a herniated disk in his back. Walker was hitting .282 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs in 113 games played for the Mets this season.

This move puts $17.2 million on the Mets books for the 2017 season, and also entrenches Walker as the Mets starting second baseman for next season. Expectations will be high for Walker after the performance he displayed last season, and it is not unreasonable to believe he replicates that season as he is again playing for another contract.  The big question with Walker will be health. We will have to see how Walker’s back holds up throughout the duration of the season after undergoing a lumbar microdiscectomy  in September. The Mets haven’t had the best of luck in dealing with back injuries recently, so we will all hold out hope that Walker’s 2017 rebound from surgery will be a much more seamless transition.

Mets outright Eric Campbell & Jim Henderson

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The New York Mets have outrighted both utility player Eric Campbell and reliever Jim Henderson off of the 40-man roster after both players cleared through waivers. It’s a move that doesn’t come as much of a surprise as both Campbell and Henderson struggled this season for the Mets, despite the latter player beginning the season strong.

Eric Campbell hit .173 with one home run and nine RBI’s for the Mets this season in 75 at-bats. While it wasn’t a huge sample size, the Mets have seen plenty of Campbell over parts of the past three seasons to know what they had. The 29-year old has been a career .221 hitter during his three seasons with the big league club, although he has been known to tear the cover off the ball in a hitters heaven, also known as Triple-A Las Vegas. He is a career .322 hitter over four seasons in Triple-A. Campbell more likely than not will elect minor league free agency, and will look to either latch back on with the Mets, or compete for a spot on another organization’s bench. While Campbell has the versatility to play all over the diamond, his bat never could quite catch up to Major League pitching, despite his impressive 2014 campaign where he posted a .263 average.

Jim Henderson came on strong for the Mets in Spring Training back in March, as he made the ballclub on a low-risk minor league deal. Henderson got off to a hot start as he posted a 1.08 ERA over twelve appearances in the first month of the season. However he could not stay healthy and ultimately would be hurt by ineffectiveness as the season wore on. The 29-year old reliever ended the season with a 4.37 ERA, while also being sidelined for two months with bicep tendinitis and a hamstring strain. The former Brewers closer will look to latch on with another organization on a minor league deal after his disappointing 2016 campaign.

Mets Pick Up Bruce’s Option

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The New York Mets have informed outfielder Jay Bruce that they have picked up his $13 million option for the 2017 season. The Mets have all but prepared for Yoenis Cespedes to opt out of his contract and enter free agency, which leaves Bruce as a viable replacement if no new deal can be reached between both parties. The $13 million price tag that follows Bruce could actually be considered a bargain due to the high-priced contracts that are going to be handed out this winter to many position players.

The Mets as of right now don’t seem to have a specific plan for Bruce heading into the 2017 season. Bruce’s fate essentially lies in the hands of Cespedes, who is expected to enter free agency, and the organization is going to see what happens on that front before deciding what to do with the 29-year old slugger. Bruce never fit like the Mets originally envisioned when he was acquired, as he hit a lowly .219 with eight home runs and 19 RBI’s in 50 games played. A far cry from the numbers he was putting up for the Cincinnati Reds prior to the Trade Deadline, as he was leading the National League in numerous offensive categories.

If Cespedes returns to the Mets, Bruce will become expendable and more likely than not will be traded to fill other holes on the roster. Basically all in all, while Bruce’s option has been picked up by the Mets, there is still no guarentte that he will be on the Opening Day lineup come 2017. It will be a wait and see approach regarding the Mets outfield from here on out and it begins with Yoenis Cespedes decision.

Welcome Back Jose. Goodbye Again Jon.

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Ahh the offseason. As the MLB Playoffs near their end, the hot stove is beginning to warm up. The Mets will have several questions to answer this offseason and none bigger than the multi million dollar question in left field. However in their first move of the offseason in regards to the big league roster, the Mets have announced they will be bringing back shortstop turned third baseman Jose Reyes. Extending the four-time All Star will only cost the Mets the league minimum of $507,500, as the Colorado Rockies are still on the hook for $22 million.

It’s a move many Mets fans will not oppose to after Reyes provided the club with unmeasurable energy and leadership down the stretch of the season. He proved many doubters wrong including a portion of the Mets fan base who were originally opposed to his return to Queens. There were obvious reasons as to why a portion of the fanbase did not want Reyes back, including his domestic violence arrest and his declining play a season ago. However Reyes proved to be the ultimate professional during his time last season with the Mets and proved he still has plenty of baseball left in the tank. The 33-year old third baseman hit .267 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs in 60 games. He also accumulated nine stolen bases and 45 runs scored during that timeframe.

Reyes is expected to split time with David Wright next season at the hot corner. There is no guarantee as to how Wright will look coming off another serious season-ending injury, but either way Reyes provides the club with insurance at third base. Reyes could even be viewed as the Opening Day third baseman at this point with many questions surrounding the health of David Wright.

In another move the Mets have declined the $10 million option on Jon Niese’s contract and instead will buy him out for $500,00. This move was all but expected after Niese struggled in his return to New York after the Trade Deadline, and then ultimately had a knee injury end his season early. I think it’s safe to say, I don’t believe we will see Niese back with the Mets a third time around.

 

Final Recap: Giants 3 – Mets 0

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The San Francisco Giants defeated the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card game by the final score of 3-0 to advance to the NLDS. For a full postgame recap follow the link below…

http://m.mlb.com/gameday/giants-vs-mets/2016/10/05/487596?#game=487596,game_state=final,game_tab=box

Game Notes:

  • Jeurys Familia gave up a go-ahead homer in the top of the 9th inning with a 3-run shot off the bat of third baseman Conor Gillaspie.
  • Noah Syndergaard was absolutely dominant tonight going 7 scoreless innings, while only allowing 2 hits, 3 walks, and 10 strikeouts.
  • The Mets were only able to muster 4 hits off of Giants starter Madison Bumgarner who went the distance tonight.
  • The Mets were 0-4 with runners in scoring position tonight.

Well for the second straight season the Mets are watching another team celebrate a postseason clinching victory on their own home field. It doesn’t get much more heartbreaking than putting the saves leader in Major League Baseball on the mound in the top of the ninth of a scoreless game, to only get taken deep by an unheralded player who has never hit more than seven home runs in his career more than once. As a Mets fan as I saw Gillaspie round the bases, I could only go back to 2006 when Yadier Molina went deep and left me with my jaw on the floor. It is a truly disappointing ending to what was a truly remarkable season for a team that battled tooth and nail to get where they were tonight. It will definitely take me some time to get over tonight’s loss, but at the end of the day this team’s resiliency will not go unnoticed by fans everywhere after tonight’s wounds heal. 

Speaking of going unnoticed, Noah Syndergaard’s performance tonight should not go unnoticed despite tonight’s loss. Thor mowed through the Giants lineup with ease by pumping his upper 90’s fastball and mid 90’s slider to hitters, keeping them off balance for seven innings. The only wish  you could have, is you wish he could’ve lasted longer than seven tonight with how dominant he was. Syndgergaard has taken a huge step forward this season, as he has entrenched himself as the Mets top starter, and as long as he stays healthy he will be one of the best pitchers in baseball for a long long time. It’s unfortunate we were unable to give him the run support he deserved as he put on a hell of a show, but when you are opposing the best postseason pitcher of our era it certainly can become an understandably tall mountain to climb. 

I eventually will have a recap of the Mets season, as I among many Mets fans will reflect heavily over the coming days on tonight’s loss. During that time I am also going to reflect on the successful season the Mets have had despite all the adversity they faced. Tonight hurts. There is no other way to say it. However I hope the Mets are able to carry the past two heartbreaking postseasons into next season as a prime source of motivation. They should also take into next season the fact that they played as a team when it mattered most. Curtis Granderson’s crashing catch at the wall in the sixth inning that stranded Denard Span at second base is a perfect example of that. Granderson has been playing center field for the Mets out of need since the beginning of August and has done as good of a job as anybody could’ve asked. 

There are plenty of offseason questions that will surround this team, including the multi-million dollar Yoenis Cespedes question. But those questions can wait, at least for now.

Lineups: San Francisco Giants vs. New York Mets 8:09 pm et.

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2016 National League Wild Card Game:

San Francisco Giants (87-75):

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Buster Posey (R) C
4. Hunter Pence (R) RF
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Angel Pagan (S) LF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
9. Madison Bumgarner (R) P

SP: Madison Bumgarner LHP (15-9, 2.74 ERA)

New York Mets (87-75):

1. Jose Reyes (S) 3B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera (S) SS
3. Yoenis Cespedes (R) LF
4. Curtis Granderson (L) CF
5. T.J. Rivera (R) 2B
6. Jay Bruce (L) RF
7. Rene Rivera (R) C
8. James Loney (L) 1B
9. Noah Syndergaard (L) P

SP: Noah Syndergaard RHP (14-9, 2.60 ERA)

Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPN.