The Mets want Yoenis Cespedes back, and general manager Sandy Alderson said on Wednesday night that the slugger has made it clear that the feeling is mutual.
“He has texted the organization and indicated his interest in coming back,” Alderson said during an interview with WOR radio.
But Alderson also acknowledged that the Mets continue having internal conversations to evaluate options in case a deal with Cespedes can’t get done.
“I think we’re going to have to wait a while to see how this turns out,” Alderson said. “But he wants to be back. I think we’d like to have him back. But there are certain limits that every team faces and certain realities that every player has to take into account. Some of them are financial. Some are not. But we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
As perhaps the biggest bat on the free market, the 31-year-old Cespedes could command a four or five year deal worth more than $100 million. But the Mets have seemingly expressed more optimism this offseason than they did last year, when a reunion with Cespedes appeared to be an extreme long shot.
“I think we’re, in one sense, in a better position than we were last year because Yoenis has been with us now for a little less than a year and a half and he’s much more familiar with the organization and his teammates and the city than he was before,” Alderson said. “And I think by all indications he’s happy with all three of those elements and would like to come back.”
Cespedes hit .280 with 31 homers and 86 RBIs, giving the Mets lineup a much-needed catalyst, particularly from the right side. But Alderson said the Mets have also been debating how to make up for Cespedes’ production should he sign elsewhere.
During internal conversations, Alderson said he has taken the group of available righthanded bats and broken them into three categories.
One group includes what Alderson called “significant hitters”, with former Blue Jays slugger and current free agent Jose Bautista as the most straightforward example. These players could potentially replace Cespedes on their own, though they will likely be the most costly.
Another category involves complementary players who would fit with what the Mets already have in the outfield. Alderson mentioned Steve Pearce, a free-agent righthanded bat who would provide balance in an outfield filled with lefty hitters Jay Bruce, Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson.
Alderson said Cespedes is in a category by himself.
“I think we’ve said as an organization that we’d like to have him back,” he said. “But free agency provides its own sort of intrigue. We’ll see where things take us.”
‘Optimistic’ on Wright. David Wright has yet to begin baseball activities. But Alderson said the Mets remain “optimistic” that he will be able to contribute. Wright is scheduled for a follow-up doctor’s appointment in December.