When news of Michael Cuddyer's retirement from baseball broke over the weekend, many believed that it would give the New York Mets more financial leverage to re-sign All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. But it appears that the team is not likely to do so.
After ending Cuddyer's 15-year career, the Mets will reportedly be free to assume his $12.157 million salary for 2016. Analysts say that the next move for the Mets is to bring back Cespedes back to City Field. The 30-year-old Cuban outfielder is looking for a deal in the six-seven year range worth $24-25 million per season.
According to the New York Post's Joel Sherman, even with the dollars they saved from Cuddyer's move, the team is not keen on re-signing the slugger unless he decreases his asking price.
"The Cubs continued to bulk up. Michael Cuddyer retired. Add it up and the Mets were provided reason and resources to respond with a big strike. Yet, that is not their intention. Unless Yoenis Cespedes' contract demands fall precipitously (extremely doubtful), the Mets have no intention of signing him or making any long-term commitments in this free-agent class," Sherman wrote.
Cuddyer will be 37 in March and struggled this past season. He has been dealing with a knee injury and recently underwent surgery to repair a core muscle. The veteran hit .259 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI in a total of 117 games this season.
On the other hand, New York acquired Cespedes at the trade deadline from Detroit. He immediately changed the culture of the club as they went from a .500 team who are unlikely to make the playoffs to a division winner in the N.L. East. He also helped catapult their way to the 2015 World Series with series triumphs against the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cespedes hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI in 57 matches. His overall totals for the last season was .291 with 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 159 games between the Mets and the Tigers. However, Cespedes did struggle in the World Series, hitting just .150 in the Fall Classic against the Kansas City Royals.
In others Mets news, recent acquisition Neil Walker has expressed frustration with his former team. The ex-Pirates second baseman was sent to New York in exchange for Jon Niese during the Winter Meetings on Wednesday.
According to Walker, the decision to move him was saddening but not at all surprising. He said that he already prepared for an eventual split from the Pirates since February, when his salary arbitration hearing began.
"That was probably the point when I lost all faith in the organization," Walker told TribLive.com. He explained that he always wanted a long-term contract that would have let him end his career in Pittsburgh but claimed that there was "absolutely no negotiating" on the Pirates' part.