MLB: Ripple Effect of Yoenis Céspedes Signing
The winter season is not usually associated with the MLB, but it is actually one of the most exciting times of the year in professional baseball. Every team in the league is attempting to build a stronger roster through trades and free agent signings. While the free agent market has been rather quiet so far this year, that should all change very soon thanks to Yoenis Céspedes signing with the New York Mets.
Yoenis Céspedes was easily considered to be the top free agent after the 2016 MLB season. While Céspedes leaving New York was always going to be a long shot, every team in desperate need for a starting outfielder was looking to lure him away. The Mets have seen Céspedes hit 48 home runs in a little more than one season’s worth of games, so they were going to do everything they needed to keep him in New York. The signing certainly helps solidify the Mets as playoff contenders next season, but it will also help create some excitement in the free agent market.
Since the free agent market was not filled with a lot of superstar players, most teams were hesitant to start signing players. Nobody wanted to agree to a contract with a second-tier player only to find out they could have got someone like Edwin Encarnacion for not much more money. The best available players have a lot of leverage this year in the thin free agent market, so they were also hesitant to sign a deal too early. The Mets and Yoenis Céspedes have now set the market for great free agents this year, so the rest of the league will be much more comfortable offering big contracts.
It will not be surprising to see the rest of the top free agents sign a new contract before the end of the year. Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista and Aroldis Chapman can all expect to get huge contracts because the teams with money to spend are not going to want to miss out on one of the few great players available this offseason.
Since Céspedes got the biggest free agent contract in MLB history for a position player, it would not be surprising to see a lot of trades before the end of the year too. The small-market teams are not able to afford huge $100 million contracts, so they will have to get creative with their roster restructuring. Trading a few prospects to get Andrew McCutchen will be much more attractive for some teams than giving Dexter Fowler or Mark Trumbo a huge contract. It may have taken longer than expected, but the MLB hot stove season is finally going to get exciting very soon. If one things for sure, Cubs tickets when they play the Mets will be at an all time high.