The New York Mets made the first big splash of the offseason by bringing back OF Yoenis Cespedes on a whopping 4 year, $110M contract. The deal keeps the 31 year old star in Queens through the 2020 season, with an annual average salary of $27.5M, 2nd only to Miguel Cabrera ($31M) among active position players.
Salary-wise the deal breaks down at $22.5M in 2017, $29M in 2018, $29M in 2019, and $29.5M in 2020. Since joining the Mets in August of 2015 Cespedes has reeled in $31.2M. Upon completion of his new deal, he'll have earned $173.5M in 9 MLB seasons with the A's, Red Sox, Tigers, and Mets.
It's the largest free agent contract ever signed by the Mets, and in terms of the AAV, the largest multi-year free agent contract ever signed by an outfielder.
Our projection formula set Cespedes' market value just shy of $25M this offseason, with age and games missed due to injury a factor in the reduced rate. The Mets were clearly able to reach a bit to get their man back.
In terms of payroll, the Mets currently have $110M allocated to 8 currently signed players. New York has 8 players set to hit arbitration, notably Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and Addison Reed, while 10 others remain under pre-arbitration control. Big picture, bringing back a bat like Cespedes' (or something comparable) was the Mets one goal this offseason, and they clearly weren't waiting for the market to heat up to get the job done.
Cespedes' huge annual salary now resets the market for a crop of young players nearing their first big pay day, including Bryce Harper, Nolan Arrenado, & Manny Machado.