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Alderson on Cespedes: 'I think we're going to have to wait a while'

Yoenis Cespedes "has texted the organization and indicated his interest in coming back," Mets GM Sandy Alderson told the team's radio network. Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

General manager Sandy Alderson is unsure whether free-agent Yoenis Cespedes will return to the New York Mets in 2017 after opting out of his contract.

"I think we've said as an organization that we'd like to have him back," Alderson told WOR 710 radio on Wednesday. "But free agency provides its own sort of intrigue. We'll see where things take us. I think we're, in one sense, in a better position than we were last year because Yoenis has been with us now for a little less than a year and a half and [he's] much more familiar with the organization and his teammates and the city than he was before. I think by all indications he's happy with all three of those elements and would like to come back. Whether we can figure something out will depend on those things, which are positive, and the market, which is undetermined at this point.

"I think we're going to have to wait a while to see how this turns out. But he wants to be back. I think we'd like to have him back. But there are certain limits that every team faces and certain realities that every player has to take into account. Some of them are financial. Some are not. We'll just have to see how it goes."

Alderson said he has regularly spoken with Cespedes' agent but not directly with the player.

"He has texted the organization and indicated his interest in coming back," Alderson told the team's radio network. "So there has been communication directly, and not through his agent. Of course, we've talked to his agent quite a bit. There's been an expression of interest on his part, which is positive."

If Cespedes signs elsewhere, the Mets have a primary outfield of Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto. They are all left-handed. Alderson said he is not alarmed by that fact -- noting that while the outfield might tilt too much to that side, the team overall does not. He noted the Mets have three switch-hitting infielders (Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Jose Reyes) as well as righty-hitting outfielder Juan Lagares.

The internal debate if Cespedes departs, Alderson acknowledged, would be whether the Mets would benefit from bringing in a big righty bat such as Jose Bautista, a complementary righty bat such as Steve Pearce, or neither. Pearce, particularly, also has first-base experience and could complement lefty-hitting Lucas Duda at first base.

"This is sort of how I categorized it the other day when we had some internal conversations: There are three categories of right-handed power, if you will," Alderson said. "One is Cespedes himself. I'd put him in a separate category. If he comes back, great. If he doesn't, we need to be able to deal with it.

"Then there are players in a second category, who are the type of player who might be comparable to Yoenis in some way, who would be a significant addition for us and occupy quite a bit of playing time. There are free agents out there, and I don't want to focus on any one. But there are some free agents in that category -- Bautista being one. There are some players with other clubs that fit that category who might be available to us as well -- significant hitters.

"There's a third category, though, which I would call a complementary player, who fits in with what we currently have. For example, if you would say we currently have Bruce and Granderson and Conforto, all lefties, with Lagares, a righty, would we add a complementary piece -- as an illustration, let's say Steve Pearce, a free agent? Would that be the best approach for us -- recognizing that most pitching in the National League is right-handed?

"To the extent that you're a little bit out of balance, you're far better off being left-handed than right-handed. So that's kind of how I would look at it.

"Right now, we're trying to decide internally, separate and apart from whether Yoenis comes back or not, as a Plan B or a Plan C: How important is it for us to rebalance right versus left? If you look at our roster overall, as opposed to just the outfield, we do have quite a bit of flexibility."