OF Cespedes: ‘I just knew I wanted to be back’ with Mets
NEW YORK — Having finalized a four-year, $110 million contract with the New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes declared: “God willing, I will finish my career with this team.”
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson quickly interjected: “God willing, and a no-trade clause, by the way.”
The video board on the wall of Citi Field’s news conference room featured a photo of the slugging outfielder and the hashtag: “YOGotHim.”
“This is the third time we have acquired Yoenis in the last 17 months, and it appears two legal separations have only strengthened the marriage,” Alderson said Wednesday.
A two-time All-Star, Cespedes, 31, gets $22.5 million in 2017, $29 million in each of t he f ollowing t wo seasons and $29.5 million in 2020.
“I just knew I wanted to be back,” Cespedes said through an interpreter. “I think just the way teammates received me with open arms made me feel very welcome.”
Cespedes received a full no-trade provision as part of the deal, the largest for a free agent this offseason. The $27.5 million average annual value ties that of former New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for the second-highest among position players, trailing Miguel Cabrera’s $29.2 million with the Detroit Tigers.
Acquired by the Mets from the Tigers at the July 31 trade deadline in 2015, Cespedes had17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games with the Mets down the stretch, helping them reach the World Series.
After finding a slow market in a free-agent class that also included Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton, Cespedes made a surprise return to the Mets when NewYork agreed in January to a three-year, $75 million contract that allowed him to opt out after one season and $27.5 million. That earned him the hashtag: “GotYoBack.”
Cespedes had 31 homers and 86 RBIs in 132 games this year as the Mets earned a wild-card berth. Slowed after injuring his right quadriceps July 8, he hit just one home run after Sept. 11.
“It is clear when Yoenis Cespedes plays for the Mets, the Mets win,” Alderson said.