Ce­s­pedes hopes to end ca­reer with Mets

Out­fielder fi­nal­izes $110 mil­lion, four-year pact, with no-trade clause for N.Y.’s 31-year-old slug­ger

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ronald Blum

Hav­ing fi­nal­ized a $110 mil­lion, four-year 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 gets $22.5 mil­lion in 2017, $29 mil­lion in each of the fol­low­ing two 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.”

The 31-year-old re­ceived a full no-trade pro­vi­sion as part of the agree­ment, the largest for a free agent thus far this off­sea­son. The deal’s $27.5 mil­lion av­er­age an­nual value ties for­mer Yan­kees third base­man Alex Ro­driguez for the sec­ond-high­est among po­si­tion play­ers, trail­ing only Miguel Cabr­era’s $29.2 mil­lion with Detroit.

Ac­quired by the Mets from the Tigers at the July 31 trade dead­line in 2015, Ce­s­pedes had 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games with the Mets down the stretch, help­ing them reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.

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 New York agreed in Jan­uary to a $75 mil­lion, three-year 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 on July 8. He hit one home run af­ter Sept. 11.

“It is clear when Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes plays for the Mets, the Mets win,” Alder­son said.

Alder­son had said he wanted a res­o­lu­tion to Ce­s­pedes’ ne­go­ti­a­tions with the team by the end of next week’s win­ter meet­ings. Other out­field­ers on the free-agent mar­ket in­clude ma­jor league home run leader Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Car­los Bel­tran, Dex­ter Fowler, Josh Red­dick and Matt Hol­l­i­day.

“Last year we sort of threaded the nee­dle,” Alder­son said.

NOTES: The Mets traded pitcher Lo­gan Ver­rett to the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles for $50,000. Ver­rett, a 26-year-old right-han­der, was 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 12 starts and 23 re­lief ap­pear­ances this year.

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