Multiple reports in the last few minutes say that the 30-year-old outfielder has agreed on a 3-year/$75M deal that will bring the four-year veteran back to New York for at least another season (since there is an opt-out after one year) after he was acquired at the Trade Deadline last July and went on a red-hot run that helped the Mets win the NL East and the National League before they dropped the World Series to the Kansas City Royals.
Washington's Nationals, who have now reportedly outbid other teams in some cases, but still lost out on a number of free agents this winter, including Darren O'Day, Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward, had reportedly made a five-year offer to Cespedes which was believed to be for $100M or more, but FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the outfielder's desire was to return to New York, even if it meant accepting a shorter-term deal since the Mets hadn't yet budged from their stance that three years was as far as they were willing to go to get Cespedes back after he put up a .287/.337/.604 line with 14 doubles and 17 home runs in 249 plate appearances over 57 games following the non-waiver deadline deal with Detroit. He finished the year at career-high 6.7 fWAR.
The Nationals acquired Ben Revere earlier this month in a trade with Toronto, but even after that deal, which gave them the left-handed outfield bat they were reportedly after all winter (to along with left-handed hitting infielder Daniel Murphy), they were also believed to have talked to Justin Upton before he signed with the Tigers, and multiple reports in the last week have said they made an aggressive play for Cespedes, in spite of the fact that they have Revere, Jayson Werth, Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper on the major league roster.
In the end, however, it appears Yoenis Cespedes wanted to return to New York:
Cespedes deal with #Mets expected to be in three-year, $70M range with one-year opt-out.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2016
mets and cespedes have a deal. 3 years guaranteed. opt out after 1.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 23, 2016
Three years, $75M for Cespedes from #Mets.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2016
nats have spent all winter at the altar. heyward and zobrist picked cubs, now cespedes stays in ny— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 23, 2016
Prepare yourself for more of the sort of talk Jon Heyman's got in that last tweet, Nationals fans, because that's a narrative that's not likely to die after the last swing and miss by Mike Rizzo and Co. in Washington's front office...