Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes intends to opt out of his contract with the New York Mets following the World Series. But his representatives plan to wait until three days after the Series for the official move, because there is no incentive to make an early declaration, sources told ESPN.com.
By voiding the remainder of his current contract, Cespedes will be walking away from $47.5 million that would have been owed to him by the Mets through 2018.
Cespedes collected $27.5 million this past season on the original deal, which was signed on Jan. 26.
Mets officials expect Cespedes will seek a five-year deal as a free agent and are pessimistic about their chances of re-signing him. In fact, one reason for acquiring outfielder Jay Bruce from the Cincinnati Reds on Aug. 1 was to serve as a hedge in case Cespedes bolted this offseason. The Mets intend to pick up a $13 million option on Bruce for 2017.
Cespedes hit .280 and led the Mets with 31 homers and 86 RBIs in 2016 while gutting through a right quadriceps strain during the final months.
He is known to have loved his time with the Mets. Still, at 31 years old and coming off a solid season, the timing is right for Cespedes to try to get a massive contract.
In order to try to retain Cespedes after he opts out, the Mets likely would be willing to offer a similar contract to the one being discarded -- a large first-year sum and an opt-out of a deal for roughly three guaranteed years.
The Mets do plan to make a one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer to Cespedes after he opts out. That will allow the organization to recoup a draft pick should Cespedes depart.