New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes officially opted out of his contract Saturday and became a free agent, according to multiple reports.
Cespedes returned to the Mets on a three-year, $75 million deal in January but the contract contained an opt-out clause. Cespedes was paid $27.5 million in the first year of the deal and the Cuban slugger is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal worth at least $100 million, which the Mets may be reluctant to do.
The Mets have until 5 p.m. ET Monday to exclusively negotiate with Cespedes, though it is unlikely the sides will reach an agreement. New York will offer a qualifying offer of $17.2 million for next season to make sure they get a draft pick and possible deter other teams from forgoing a selection for signing Cespedes.
Cespedes rejuvenated New York's struggling offense when he was acquired minutes before the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline from the Detroit Tigers. He helped the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 2015 and batted .280 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI while missing time with a strained right quadriceps.
The Mets were 74-58 when he played and 13-17 in games Cespedes did not appear in.
Cespedes has often said how much he enjoys playing for the Mets but never stated he was going to not use the opt-out clause.
"He's a great player, one of the best in the game and any team will be fortunate to have him," Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters Thursday. "I hope we can get him back."