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.