That line, once uttered by the late former Yankees and Mets manager, could soon apply to the Mets handling of free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes—if FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s suggestion comes to fruition.
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In his latest take on the never-ending saga between Cesedes and the Mets, Rosenthal suggests a five-year, $120 million deal with deferred money, seemingly a win for both sides:
Sign him to a five-year, $120 million contract with a two-year opt-out and a ton of deferred money.
Cespedes, 30, could claim victory – he would get the long-term security he wants and a higher average annual value ($24 million) than Justin Upton ($22.125M).
If the words “deferred money” and “Mets” in the same sentence give you a queasy feeling, it’s probably because of the Bobby Bonilla contract that still hovers over the franchise.
When Bonilla’s Mets career was over, the team owed him $5.9 million. Instead of cutting a check in the moment, they deferred the payments for later and agreed to pay him $1,193,248.20 annually on July 1 for 25 years, beginning in 2011.
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While the idea of deferred payments for Cespedes would be different—he would be agreeing before starting his new contract, not on the way out—it would be the same principle. Years after his career ended, the Mets would still be paying the slugger they want to keep now.
The Orioles used this tactic with Chris Davis on Saturday. Last year, the Nationals did the same with Max Scherzer.
Every moment that Cespedes lingers on the market gives Sandy Alderson and the Mets front office a chance to be creative and innovative, leaving the door open for a reunion—even if that means creating Bonilla 2.0.