Much has been made of the fact that Yoenis Cespedes is a pure rental for the New York Mets. Due to some fancy legalese in the Cuban outfielder’s contract, the Mets will have to release him five days after the end of the World Series if an extension cannot be worked out. Should the Mets release Cespedes, he cannot be resigned until May 15 of the following season. Something tells me Cespedes won’t want to sit out the first month of the season just to return to the Mets.
With that on the table, what are the chances the Mets can actually iron out a contract extension with their midseason acquisition?
Cespedes appears to be the kind of player who enjoys the limelight that comes with playing in the Big Apple. Some can handle the pressure, and some can’t. Cespedes appears to fall into the first category. In 22 games with the Mets, he has a .306/.346/.582 line with seven home runs and 20 RBI’s. What’s more, he appears to be enjoying himself immensely. The Mets have an exciting young team, and Cespedes fits in perfectly.
If the Mets want to have any chance of retaining Cespedes, contract negotiations with Roc Nation should have already started. There’s no way of possibly knowing whether talks are ongoing and to what extent. Negotiating an extension this late in the season is not extremely common, but with the extenuating circumstances regarding Cespedes and the Mets, it would seem plausible that negotiations could begin in earnest if both sides are interested.
Roc Nation, though, throws a monkey wrench into the equation. The agency is still young in terms of its time representing professional athletes, and it is difficult to predict how they will handle negotiations. Not many saw Robinson Cano spurning the New York Yankees to head off on a record-breaking deal with the Seattle Mariners. If Roc Nation wants Cespedes to wait until the other 29 teams get in on the bidding, then the Mets have no shot at keeping him. A request for six or seven years would also seem to be a deal-breaker for the 29-year-old.
A lot of this is on Cespedes. If he wants to stay in New York and likes the direction the Mets are headed in, then they have a chance to keep him. If he’s after the biggest possible contract, well, then enjoy the final 37 games of the season, Mets fans.