Yoenis Cespedes is heading back to the New York Mets, as a report from FOX Sports has the outfielder re-signing for a three-year, $75 million deal.
The Nationals pursued Cespedes and offered him a five-year deal this week. Cespedes ultimately took a smaller contract to return to New York.
The Mets did sweeten the pot with several incentives. He has the ability to opt out after one year and holds a full no-trade clause.
Cespedes, 30, was a driving force for the Mets in the second half of the season and the playoffs when they reached the World Series. He began the 2015 season with the Detroit Tigers before getting traded to the New York on July 31, just before the non-waiver deadline.
The Nationals were seeking an upgrade for their outfield and were hoping to capitalize on a free agent whose value had dropped this late in the offseason. The free agent class for outfielders was unusually deep, which allowed Cespedes to still be available in late January. This was despite his impressive 35 homers and 105 RBI in 2015.
The Nats were also interested in Justin Upton before he signed with the Tigers. They pursued Jason Heyward, as well, before he signed with the Chicago Cubs. They also targeted Ben Zobrist before he signed with the Cubs and Darren O'Day before he re-signed with the Orioles. The Nats offered all four players close to or more money than what they ended up signing for.
The Nationals current outfield has Jayson Werth in left field, Ben Revere in center and Bryce Harper in right. After Cespedes, the best outfield free agent remaining is Dexter Fowler. If they still want to upgrade their outfield, the best option may be through a trade.
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It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.