cespedes

New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits an RBI single against the Minnesota Twins during the seventh inning at Citi Field

By Joe Giglio

NEW YORK — It’s never too early to look ahead to the hot stove.

As the Mets attempt to secure a wild card berth and Yankees try to stay alive in the American League, it’s easy to live in the moment around the local baseball teams.

But whenever baseball does end in New York this fall, a huge decision will impact how the summer of 2017 looks: Yoenis Cespedes’ ability to opt out of his contract with the Mets and re-enter free agency. While Cespedes has downplayed the ideaof actually doing it, few believe that the 30-year-old would leave a possible $100 million deal on the table.

If Cespedes does use his contractual right, the Mets will surely hope to negotiate and retain the biggest star in Queens. But according to former Mets GM—and current MLB analyst—Jim Duquette, the second-most likely suitor for Cespedes’ services plays its games across town.

Here’s what Duquette wrote for MLB.com when listing Cespedes as the No. 1 bat in the potential upcoming market:

Cespedes suffered from a top-heavy free-agent class last offseason and settled on a three-year deal with the Mets that allows him to opt out of his contract at the end of this season. And while he has hinted that he won’t opt out because he likes New York, that seems unlikely, as he would be the top position player on the market. Despite battling a quad injury for most of the second half, Cespedes has carried the Mets’ offense again with his second successive 30-homer season and a career high in slugging.

Likely suitors: Mets, Yankees, Indians

Considering Duquette’s standing in the game and relationships throughout front offices, that could be an informed take and inside look at what the Yankees may be looking for this winter. Or it could simply be a guess based on all the money that’s in the process of exiting the books in the Bronx.

A Cespedes opt-out would be must-see free-agent television, but a flirtation with the Yankees would take it to an entirely bigger level.

Heading into play on September 17, Cespedes owns a .288/.357/.544 slash line this season.

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