According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, there is a “growing sense” that free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will land a five-year contract. Earlier this month, Cespedes opted out with two years and $47.5 million remaining on his contract with the Mets in order to become a free agent.
Cespedes finished the 2016 regular season with a .280/.354/.530 triple-slash line with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances. The Giants, Dodgers, Nationals, Yankees, and Mets have all had reported interest in the two-time All-Star.
Matthew Pouliot ranked Cespedes as the best of 111 free agents available this offseason.
As presently constructed, the Mets’ outfield would feature Jay Bruce in right field, Curtis Granderson in center, and Michael Conforto in left field. The Mets are taking offers for Bruce and might pursue other free agent outfielders (such as Jose Bautista) if they get a sense that Cespedes moves out of their price range.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that free agent catcher Jason Castro has multiple three-year ofers and suggests that the team that is willing to go four years might get an edge to procure the backstop’s services.
The Twins, Braves, Rays, and Angels are among the handful of teams that have reported interest in Castro. The 29-year-old finished the 2016 season having hit .210/.307/.377 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 376 plate appearances. Given that Castro has, over the course of his six-year career, hit lefties much better than righties, he might be a good fit as part of a platoon.
Rosenthal adds that free agent catcher Nick Hundley can serve as a “Plan B” for the clubs who miss out on Castro. The Orioles in particular seem to be enamored with a reunion with Hundley.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that, prior to signing slugger Kendrys Morales to a three-year, $33 million contract, the Blue Jays offered a four-year, $80 million contract to free agent Edwin Encarnacion. Heyman adds that the Jays are still interested in bringing Encarnacion back even after signing Morales.
Encarnacion, who turns 34 years old in January, hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI in 702 plate appearances this past season. He’s been one of baseball’s most productive hitters over the last five seasons and has even made some strides defensively at first base. Encarnacion just completed what turned out to be a four-year, $37 million contract, so the Jays’ most recent offer represents a significant pay raise.
With Morales in the fold, the DH spot is mostly spoken for in Toronto, so bringing Encarnacion back for full-time work at first base would push Justin Smoak back to the bench and likely would make him a trade candidate.