The New York Mets haven't won the World Series since 1986, but their chances and MLB futures odds got a major boost Tuesday when the team re-signed slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Major League Baseball's Hot Stove League has been rather quiet thus far because teams don't want to make big financial decisions until owners and the MLB Players' Association agrees on a new collective bargaining agreement -- the current one is due to expire on Thursday. If the rules are going to change, it makes sense to wait.
But the Mets weren't going to sit back and see the 31-year-old Cespedes got poached, bringing him back on a four-year, $110 million deal that fills New York's biggest hole and takes the top free agent on the market off it already. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals were known to be interested in Cespedes, whose new average annual contract value of $27.5 million is No. 2 in baseball history among position players (Detroit's Miguel Cabrera at $31.0 million).
Cespedes, from Cuba, was a huge reason the Mets won the NL East in 2015 -- and upset the Dodgers in the NLDS and Cubs in the NLCS before losing to the Royals in the World Series -- as he was a monster at the plate after coming over midseason from Detroit in a trade. Cespedes was due to hit free agency last offseason, but the Mets essentially signed him to a one-year, $25 million deal prove-it deal. Cespedes bet on himself to have another big season in 2016 and raise his value. He did, batting .280 in 132 games -- missing some time with a quad injury -- and leading the team with 31 homers and 86 RBIs.
The Mets now have a glut of outfielders as they like Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, so already reports are that New York will attempt to trade right fielder Jay Bruce and his big salary. Bruce came over at this year's trade deadline from Cincinnati.
New York was rather fortunate to reach this past season's wild-card game but lost it to the Giants. But it was a successful season considering all the team's injuries; that vaunted pitching staff was never all healthy at once but Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey & Co. all are expected to be for the start of 2017. The Mets could thus be scary and they are now +900 at BetOnline MLB odds to win next year's Fall Classic.
Expect Washington to make its own big move soon -- trading for White Sox ace Chris Sale? -- to stay ahead of the Mets on MLB picks to win the NL East.