OF Ce­s­pedes: ‘I just knew I wanted to be back’ with Mets

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES & MLB - By Ron­ald Blum

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.

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