Yoenis Cespedes has been one of the Mets biggest stars this season. It seemed strange when the Mets got him. When Cespedes didn’t get the mega-deal he was after, the Mets swooped in with a three year $75 million deal, with the option to opt – out after the first year.
He exercised that option on Saturday. It was a little bit of a no – brainer. The slugger, who batted .280 this season with 31 homers, was the arguably the Mets best offensive player. This was painfully clear during August while Cespedes sat on the Disabled List. The Mets struggled significantly without the out fielder. Brian Cashman has said that the focus this off season is pitching. However, there is right field. If the price were right, could Cespedes make the shift from left to fit the bill?
There is no denying that the Yankees struggled last season. While the addition of the Baby Bombers -Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge – made a huge impact late in the season, and even put the Yankees on a post season chase, it was not enough to get us there. The Yankees struggled with hitting frequently, particularly early on in the season. It was the cause of many fans frustration this season. In fact, the Yankees ranked 12th in the American league for runs, 22nd overall. The Yankees could absolutely use the bat. And Cespedes has proven that he can handle the pressure of playing in New York. The problem, for me, is the price tag.
Look, baseball is a business. Cespedes signed with the Mets after no one else would bite. He made sure to add the opt-out. He never truly intended to stay on for three years. Which works for the Mets. They will give him a qualifying offer, he’ll turn it down, and they will get a draft pick. Cespedes will be able to test those free agent waters, after a phenomenal season. Teams will be looking at him and trying to do their best to broker a deal. Some may even offer him the block buster deal he is rumored to be after. But I don’t think the Yankees should be among them.
Aside from the painfully obvious option of having Judge and Aaron Hicks platoon right, the Yankees are on the path of getting under the luxury tax for the first time since… well, a really long time. If they manage to hold off on making big deals right now, with the addition of Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia‘s contracts coming off the books, and if they continue to utilize their farm system – a plan that worked incredibly well for us late in the season – Yankees will be free to spend in 2018 in what looks to be the deepest free agency period in league history, when guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado become available.
I know Cashman is on the receiving end of a lot of criticism, and I know that a lot of Yankee fans are about the instant gratification – no one wants to wait to win the Chip, they want it now… every single year. But, if Cashman’s plan is to tighten up on spending to be able to put his hands in the cookie jar that is the 2018 Free Agency, I’m all on board for that. Cespedes is great talent, yes. However, the 2018 Free Agency market is chock-full of talent, and it would be a shame if the Yankees couldn’t grab at least one of those guys up. To be able to do that, they have to have the money to play around with. Because, lets be honest, the uproar from Yankees fans if the Yankees didn’t even consider a few of those guys because they couldn’t afford it would be astronomical!
Ultimately, as much as we would like to believe we are owed every superstar player that comes up on free agency, those players cost money. Why spend it now if you know the options later are going to be so much sweeter? It’s like eating Spam when you know your wife is making you filet mignon. I’ll wait. Besides, being spoiled didn’t work out so well for Veruca Salt. I’d rather not get flushed down the Golden Egg shoot. Patience is truly a virtue.