The Mets were 53-50 and averaging 3.5 runs per game with a floundering offense prior to Cespedes’ arrival in Flushing. With Cespedes on the roster, the Mets finished with a 37-22 burst and a National League-best 5.4 runs per game.
Cespedes had a chance to cash in on his impressive close, but chose instead to remain (at least for now) in the market in which things went best for him and his team.
Cespedes and the Mets reportedly agreed to a three-year deal, pending a physical, with an opt out for him after the first season.
Cespedes is coming off a career year, setting single-season highs in a number of power categories including home runs (35), RBIs (105) and OPS (.870).
His power was on full display with the Mets; he hit 17 home runs in 57 games, including nine in a 13-game stretch to start the month of September.
Mark McGwire is the only player in major league history to hit more home runs after July 31 after being traded during the season (among players who played at least one game for a team before being traded).
Elias Sports Bureau research tells us that Cespedes’ 17 home runs are tied for the third-most by a Met from Aug. 1 to the end of the season. Gary Carter (1985) and Mike Piazza (1999) each hit 19.
Cespedes did close the season with a cold streak. He hit .218 with no home runs and only two RBIs in his last 16 regular-season games. He had two home runs and eight RBIs in the postseason, but batted .222 and struck out 17 times in 54 at-bats.
Cespedes has been an above-average defender in the outfield in his major league career, but much more so in left field than in center.
He has played over three times as many innings in left field and accumulated 32 defensive runs saved compared with center field, where he has negative-17 defensive runs saved in a little over 900 innings.
Cespedes finished with 6.3 wins above replacement last season, easily his best for a single season. In Cespedes’ first three seasons, he totaled 9.5 WAR.
What he brings to the Mets
When Cespedes joined the Mets last season, they ranked last in the majors with a .664 OPS. From Aug. 1 until the end of the season, they ranked first in the NL and second in the majors at .794.
From Aug. 1 to the end of the season, Céspedes led the team in hits, home runs, RBIs, extra-base hits and stolen bases.
One oddity from his time in Queens: He did almost all of his damage on the road. He hit .224 with five home runs and 27 strikeouts in 98 at-bats at Citi Field.
Did you know?
Cespedes is the fifth player that the Mets have signed to a contract of more than $50 million. Four of them have been outfielders.
Carlos Beltran ($119 million), Jason Bay ($66 million) and Curtis Granderson ($60 million) were the three most expensive free-agent signings in Mets history. Cespedes' contract ranks second among free-agent deals given by the Mets, trailing only the one by Beltran. The $25 million average annual value matches that of Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Hamilton for the highest ever for an outfielder.