Mets News and Notes: Cespedes, De Aza, Wheeler, 6-Man Rotation, Catchers at other Positions, '86 Uniforms, Major League Deals, ConfortoCespedes Comments About His Decision
In his first public comments since agreeing to a three-year, $75 million contract with the New York Mets that includes an opt-out after the first season, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes said his enjoyable experience in Queens in 2015 played a large role in him re-signing with the organization.
"It’s not always about the amount of money being offered," Cespedes said through an interpreter on Wednesday at Citi Field. "It’s about being in a place that you want to play in, that you’re happy in. That’s just what happened in this case.”
Of course, money had to be a factor in the decision. Cespedes will earn $27.5 million this upcoming season. He then could opt out for a far richer contract than the five-year offers he had on the table elsewhere this winter.
“I’m very happy to be putting on my Mets jersey again," Cespedes said. "I know that this team has everything it needs to continue on with what we started last year. ... I can say that from my first day when I came last season, that very first day, the fans just showed incredible support. My teammates were so welcoming, as well as the full Mets organization. From there, I just knew that I wanted to come back.”
De Aza Could be Traded by Opening Day?
When the New York Mets signed outfielder Alejandro De Aza in December, team officials did not foresee Yoenis Cespedes returning.
Now, with Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Cespedes in the crowded outfield with De Aza, it is difficult to foresee how the lefty-hitting De Aza will see much playing time.
So is a trade late in spring training involving De Aza conceivable? Yes it is, according to general manager Sandy Alderson.
"We’re not pursuing any of that at the moment," Alderson said. "It’s conceivable." De Aza is due to earn $5.75 million this season.
Alderson appeared to hint on Wednesday that De Aza's contract potentially could be moved before Opening Day while the general manager was addressing whether the Mets’ payroll would remain at its current level, near $140 million.
"Look, we could be somewhat below $140 [million] going into the regular season,” Alderson said. “There are a couple of marginal situations on our roster where things could change a little bit. I don’t think we’re going to be as mindful of the '140' number as most of you in the media."
Wheeler Eyes July 1st Comeback
Fifteen months is now the New York Mets' standard rehab time for a starting pitcher after undergoing Tommy John surgery. So team officials have informed right-hander Zack Wheeler that the club is now targeting July 1 for his first major league action since the elbow procedure.
Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery on March 25, 2015.
He is rehabbing at the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Wheeler initially expected to begin throwing off a mound in January, but the Mets slowed him down.
"It could accelerate a little bit, but we feel real comfortable with that. And I know he does as well,” general manager Sandy Alderson said about the July 1 target date. “He felt that he could have come back sooner than that, but we backed him off. So he really hasn’t thrown off a mound. He hasn’t thrown off a slope. We just said, ‘Let’s cool it."