The first big name free agent apparently signed on Sunday. It was a somewhat surprising signing, which could give the Mets hope that they could re-sign Yoenis Cespedes (well, at least give Mets fans hope; the team may have already decided to move on from him).
Jordan Zimmerman reportedly agreed to a $110 million deal with the Tigers. It is not the money or the team that it is surprising; rather, it is the length of the contract — just five years.
Zimmerman does not turn 30 until next May. In recent years, an ace like him could likely have counted on at least a seven-year deal. So perhaps owners are learning that these long-term contracts are not a good idea, especially in the final few years when the player is past age 35 and is ready to break down. Joel Sherman touched upon this in a column on Sunday in the New York Post.
If common sense has finally prevailed and this is the beginning of a trend, perhaps it can benefit the Mets in their possible chase of Cespedes. The Mets would probably not want to exceed five years on any contract for him. Maybe they would be comfortable with four or five years, which is their window to win, given the control they have over their young pitching.
If no one else is willing to give Yoenis Cepedes more years, maybe he would re-sign with the Mets. He appeared comfortable in Flushing. And he has already taken the team to the World Series; why start over with another possible contender?
Of course, the Zimmerman signing can be an aberration. As good as he is, he is not even the best starter on the market; Zack Greinke, David Price and Johnny Cueto could command longer deals. But if owners stick to the shorter deals, maybe the Mets have a chance to bring back Yoenis Cespedes. If so, they are that much closer to a return trip to the Fall Classic.