Exploring a Yoenis Cespedes extension

Exploring a Yoenis Cespedes extension

Yoenis Cespedes has been everything the Mets hoped for during his first three games with the team. The 29-year-old outfielder connected for three doubles and drove in four runs during Monday night’s rout of the Miami Marlins, and yet his presence on a resurgent Mets team feels like a mirage due to his contractual status.

Cespedes must be released by the Mets before free agency begins if the Cuban slugger and the team can not reach a contract extension, according to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin.

It is largely assumed the Mets, who have maintained a conservative payroll during their rebuild, will not come to terms with Cespedes; but what would a reasonable contract extension look like?

Cespedes is a career .269/.317/.473 hitter with a 119 OPS+ in parts of four major-league seasons. He has appeared in two All-Star games and won the 2013 Home Run Derby. This season, Cespedes is hitting .294/.325/.508 with a 127 OPS+, out-performing his career averages. He is set to turn 30 on Oct. 18.

His profile is best comparable to high-profile 2014 free agent hitters Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, both of whom signed with the Boston Red Sox during the offseason.

Sandoval, who turned 28 on Aug. 12, 2014, agreed to a five-year, $95 million contract with the Red Sox. He is a career .291/.342/.456 hitter with a 120 OPS+, and hit .279/.324/.739 with a 113 OPS+ before he tested the open market

Ramirez, who turned 31 on Dec. 23, agreed to a four-year, $88 million pact with the Red Sox, in an agreement that includes a fifth-year vesting option worth $22 million if Ramirez accumulates 1,050 plate appearances between 2017-18. He is a career .298/.368/.497 hitter with a 130 OPS+, and batted .283/.369/.448 with a 130 OPS+ in 2014 before he entered free agency.

Cespedes is likely to receive a deal worth a similar average annual value closer to Ramirez than Sandoval, but both appear to be solid starting points for discussions. The league-wide need for offense, combined with last year’s free agent contracts, indicate Cespedes will land a free agent contract for four-to-five years worth between $22-24 million per year.

Photo credit: Keith Allsion