Suddenly, the Mets have a lot more time to try to re-sign impending free agent Yoenis Cespedes this offseason. GM Sandy Alderson confirmed to reporters on Tuesday the Mets have been granted a waiver by MLB and the MLBPA extending their period to re-sign Cespedes this coming offseason.
Under his original contract, the Mets would have only been able to re-sign Cespedes within five days of the end of the World Series. Now they have the entire offseason to re-sign him, as they would any regular free agent. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York explains how this all works:
Because Cespedes came from Cuba with significant professional experience, his original agent negotiated a clause in his contract that would make the outfielder a free agent after four years in the majors rather than the customary six years.
However, the mechanism that makes Cespedes a free agent calls for him to be released within five days of the completion of the World Series.
MLB rules prohibit a team from re-signing a player until the following May 15 if he has been released at that point. So, barring this waiver, the Mets effectively would have been eliminated from re-signing Cespedes once open bidding begins five days after the World Series.
The contract clause allowing Cespedes to become a free agent after four years instead of the usual six is not uncommon. Players with significant professional experience who come over from Cuba or Asia are granted the clause as a professional courtesy.
The waiver granted to the Mets by MLB and the MLBPA is not unprecedented either. Just last offseason the Royals were granted one so they could attempt to re-sign Nori Aoki, a veteran of Japanese baseball with only three years of big league service time. Aoki eventually signed with the Giants, however.
Interestingly, it was Cespedes' camp who requested the waiver from MLB and MLBPA, not the Mets.