Just yesterday it looked like Yoenis Cespedes was going to sign a five-year, $100 million contract with the Nationals because the Mets were unwilling to go beyond three years. Then the 30-year-old outfielder seemed to have second thoughts and contacted the Mets to ask if they would raise their offer. They, of course, refused, and now it looks like Cespedes is trying to use the Yankees against his former team.
According to the New York Daily News:
Another source said that Cespedes' agents, the Roc Nation group, reached out to the Yankees on Thursday to tell them of the slugger's desire to stay in New York, and ask if they'd be willing to jump in with a three-year offer.
Of course, the paper goes on to state that the Yankees have no interest in such a deal and are unlikely to play Cespedes' game. Despite Hal Steinbrenner's recent coy approached when asked about adding someone like Cespedes on a cheap free agent contract–"You never know with us. We've surprised people in the past."–it's really no surprise that the Yankees aren't interested in adding to payroll. Hal has already gone on record, saying "I'm not comfortable with the payroll being too much higher than it is now,"–which sounds incredibly ridiculous for someone as rich as him–so it's likely that the team is done for the offseason.
However, any deal that would add Cespedes on such terms could at least be partially made back after trading Brett Gardner in a corresponding move. It is believed that the Mets offer has to be higher than $20 million to make Cespedes consider the deal over Washington's and relief of Gardner's $13.5 million salary this year, could help with that. However, the whole point of adding an outfielder and trading Gardner was that they could use Gardner to get a pitcher, but if they're already trying to dump money, they're not also going to get a worthwhile player back at this point.
The real reason Cespedes and company are calling on the Yankees is to simply gain some much-needed leverage against the Mets. It's now January and very few teams have been interested in him so far. He's clearly trying to avoid the Nationals (man, they must suck), so bringing in the big pockets of the Yankees could improve his lot. Unfortunately for Cespedes, he hit free agency at the wrong time.