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Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats in market for Yoenis Cespedes again?

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After making a play for Yoenis Cespedes last winter, will Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office try to sign the outfielder again?

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

New York Post writer Mike Puma wrote on Monday night that though the New York Mets, “... remain optimistic a deal can be struck that will return Yoenis Cespedes to their lineup in 2017 ... market forces are threatening to thwart that reunion.”

While the Mets, “are likely committed to signing the 31-year-old if a four-year contract in the $100 million-to-$110 million neighborhood can be hammered out,” Puma writes, “... according to an industry source... there is less clarity on the matter when an additional year — which could push the value of a deal beyond $130 million — is considered.”

Noting that four-to-five teams (the Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Mets and possibly the Yankees) are rumored to have interest in acquiring Cespedes’ services this winter, after he opted out of the last 2-years/$47.5M of his deal with the Mets, and rejected NY’s 1-year/$17.2M qualifying offer, Puma wrote that while New York is willing to go to four years, “... there is a growing sense the star outfielder will command a five-year deal, which would leave the Mets facing a major decision on their immediate future.”

As for which interested teams might be willing to go beyond the four years the Mets are rumored to be offering, the NY Post writer quotes an “industry source” who says, “Out of the teams that are interested, somebody will offer five years. And [the Nationals] wouldn’t surprise me.”

Washington did, of course, reportedly offer Cespedes a 5-year/$110M contract last winter, Puma notes, “... that was heavy in deferred dollars, lowering the contract’s present-day value.”

Peter Gammons noted last winter, that the, “... paper five year, $110M deal Washington reportedly offered,” last winter, “was spread out over 15 years, so, in present day value, it was five years, $77M.” Cespedes ended up taking the Mets’ 3-year/$75M offer.

Will the Nationals make another run at the outfielder? Puma’s colleague at the New York Post, Joel Sherman, quoted GM Mike Rizzo earlier this month explaining that he has always been impressed with Cespedes:

“When [Cespedes] played for the Mets, the guy scared me. He’s a really good offensive player. He’s a really good two-way player. He is a middle-of-the-lineup bat. He improves any team he plays for.”

Sherman wrote this afternoon that he’s hearing from “executives from several teams” who, “cite the Nationals as a club expected to break the shackles and be aggressive” this winter as they try to build a team that can finally get past the NLDS:

“They are really interesting. They are hovering on [Chris] Sale. They are thinking big things. It would not shock me if they ended up with Sale. I think they have let teams know that [Trea] Turner is off the table, but that they are open on a lot of different things.”

An NL executive he spoke to also mentioned Washington interest in Cespedes last winter and interest in Jose Bautista last summer.

The Nationals are also in the market for a closer and catcher. An AL executive he talks to says, “[Mike] Rizzo is pretty bold. He is going to do whatever he needs to do.”

So what will Rizzo and Co. in the Nationals’ front office do this winter? Cespedes and the Mets are reportedly interested in having some resolution by the end of the Winter Meetings, so we might know sooner than later whether Cespedes in D.C. is a realistic possibility.