Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is believed to be open to offering Cespedes a four-year deal in the $ 100- to $ 110-million range, sources told Mike Puma of the New York Post.
Puma notes however, that there is a growing sense that Cespedes will command five years, and one source indicated that there will be teams who will offer a fifth year. The extra year could price the Mets out of the market.
It was reported last week that four teams – the Mets and three unknown – were in competition for Cespedes and the hope is that he signs during the winter meetings beginning early next month. The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants are believed to also be interested in adding Cespedes.
The 31-year-old is the premier free-agent slugger on the market. He hit .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 25 doubles in 132 games last season and has averaged 27 homers and a .819 OPS in five seasons in the majors.
Cespedes agreed to a three-year, $ 75-million deal with the Mets last January that paid him $ 27.5 million in 2016 before opting out of the final two years.
Should the Mets fail to retain Cespedes, they will be awarded a draft pick as compensation after he rejected a qualifying offer. Puma believes the Mets could turn their attention to fellow free-agent outfielders Jose Bautista or Dexter Fowler should Cespedes sign elsewhere, though their priority is retaining him.