Orioles ink Chris Davis to 7-yr deal, Yoenis wait continues

By on January 17, 2016

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Saturday, January 16, 2016, 9:14 PM

A SEPT. 8, 2015 FILE PHOTOFrank Franklin II/AP

Was the Orioles reported offer to Yoenis Cespedes just a leverage move with Chris Davis?

As Yoenis Cespedes’ potential suitors continue to dry up, a return to the Mets on a short-term deal at least remains a possibility with the start of spring training barely a month away.

The free-agent slugger reportedly had been mulling a five-year offer from Baltimore in recent days, but the Orioles instead re-signed their top offseason priority, first baseman Chris Davis, on Saturday morning to a seven-year deal worth $ 161 million, according to multiple reports.

The Mets have maintained contact with Cespedes’ camp in recent weeks in case the market leads him to consider accepting a short-term deal, but a source said Friday that the Mets still had yet to make him an official offer.

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Cespedes helped carry the Mets to the postseason following a trade from Detroit last July, belting 17 home runs with 44 RBI and a .942 OPS in 57 games.

For the season, the 30-year-old outfielder finished with career bests of 35 home runs and 105 RBI and a slash line of .291/.328/.542.

Teams are not racing to lock up Yoenis Cespedes.Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Teams are not racing to lock up Yoenis Cespedes.

Cespedes, who batted just .222 with two home runs while dealing with hand and shoulder ailments during the Mets’ October run to the World Series, had indicated late in the season that he would be seeking a six-year contract in free agency. But his market continues to be slow to develop, even though he does not have draft-pick compensation attached to him this winter, unlike unsigned outfielder Justin Upton and others.

Like the Mets, the Braves and the White Sox also have indicated a willingness to consider pursuing a short-term deal with Cespedes. Accepting a one-year deal, of course, would enable him to revisit free agency next winter.

With Curtis Granderson in right field and 2015 rookie Michael Conforto expected to be given a chance to become the Mets’ full-time left fielder, the team signed outfielder Alejandro De Aza to a one-year deal worth up to $ 7 million ($ 5.75 million guaranteed) in December as a lefty-swinging complement to Juan Lagares in center. Cespedes appeared in 40 games in center field for the Mets, but primarily had been a corner outfielder in three previous stops in the American League.  

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The Orioles’ offer to Cespedes was said to be worth up to $ 90 million over five years, but some around baseball viewed it as possible leverage to nudge Davis — the two-time AL home run leader — to remain in Baltimore.

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