Mets have the luxury to slow-play winter market with Cespedes

He disappointed in the NL wild-card game, but Yoenis Cespedes posted a nice .280/.354/.530 slash line during the regular season. Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey provided another look at Yoenis Cespedes' greatest flaw as a hitter in the National League wild-card game, likely Cespedes' last game before he hits the free-agent market again. Posey kept hoisting his glove high, setting a target for Bumgarner above the strike zone, or very low, below the strike zone. Only a small fraction of the 18 pitches that the left-hander threw to Cespedes were actually strikes, but like a cat scurrying after a laser dot on the floor, Cespedes kept chasing, finishing the game hitless in four at-bats, with two strikeouts.

But not every pitcher is Bumgarner and not every catcher can frame like Posey, and over the long summer, Cespedes validated the Mets' decision to work outside the typical contractual model and pay him a premium rate of $27.5 million for the first year of an unusual three-year deal that gives him the opportunity to opt out this fall. Cespedes hit .280 with 31 homers and carried the Mets often enough that they qualified for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

Folks within the Mets' organization fully expect that Cespedes' representation will attempt to parlay that option into more money and explore market alternatives -- and they're willing to wait for his decision, a luxury afforded to them by the strength of the rest of their team and by a market that will be flush with sluggers.