Yoenis Cespedes remains a free agent and Mets fans remain adamant that the team do whatever it takes to sign him. The Mets, though, according to reports are adamant that they will not go beyond three years for Cespedes. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one has to do with their young starting pitching.
We are getting lots of theories on why the Mets are willing to let Cespedes walk away. They range from concerns about his work ethic if he gets a big contract, to his sometimes lackadaisical attitude on the field, to massive interest and Madoff-related payments the Mets must in a few years. Some or all of those might be true (especially the last one), but I think it has more to do with having the money to re-sign the starters.
Matt Harvey can be a free agent in three years. Is it any wonder the Mets do not want to tie up $20 million or more for Yoenis Cespedes when they might need the money for Harvey? Zack Wheeler is a free agent in four years, Jacob deGrom in five and Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz after that.
If these guys develop like everybody hopes, they will all be $20+ million a season players. With limited budgets for the foreseeable future (see those massive payments), the Mets have to scrimp and save in order to keep their pitching. Now, there is no way the Mets will sign all of them to long-term contracts; no team needs five $20 million starters. Maybe they can keep three of them. But if they sign Cespedes for five or six years, they probably can only keep two. And if baseball has shown us anything, it is that starting pitching wins the World Series.
It is clear Sandy Alderson wants to hang onto his starters for as long as possible. This has to be playing into the decision to limit a Yoenis Cespedes contract to three years.
Having said all of that, it would be a shame if the Mets do not improve their offense and this window to win a championship goes by without a banner flying at Citi Field.