NEW YORK -- The idea is a simple one and the Mets followed it perfectly on Tuesday. When you have a real chance to win a World Series, you go for it. That's what the Mets have and that's what they were doing when they signed Yoenis Cespedes.
The Mets have the cornerstone of what should be a championship contender for several years in their collection of stellar young starting pitchers. New York's rotation got them to the 2015 World Series and, even badly decimated by injury, pulled them into the 2016 postseason. Now the front office has brought back an offensive force proven to be capable of backing it up.
New York acquired Cespedes mid-2015 and he turned a popgun offense into a force. The Mets found a creative way to bring him back for 2016 with a big money deal with an opt-out after one season and he was again one of the most reliable right-handed run producers.
So the Mets didn't dally. Saying from the start of the offseason that Cespedes was their top priority, they brought him back with a four-year deal worth $110 million that reportedly includes a no-trade clause. It is a true win-win.
When Cespedes signed last season he was betting on himself. He got the front-loaded $27.5 million for the 2016 season and had a chance to prove he was worthy of a huge deal now. And he delivered for himself by with an .884 OPS season that included 31 home runs and 86 RBIs in 132 games.
He liked New York and showed he could play there. The Mets are staggering 106-74 during the past two seasons when he is in the starting lineup. And their young pitchers should be back to full strength next season and ready challenge all comers.
Further, in 2017 and 2018 the entire rotation -- Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler -- are under club control. Harvey is a free agent after 2018 but the other four won't be before 2020 when Cespedes' deal ends. This is the window for the Mets and now Cespedes will be in fold to help the Mets reach their potential.
For Cespedes, the contract's average annual salary of $27.5 million makes this the highest in history for an outfielder. Yes, he bet on himself and won.
There is another thing going on here, too, that's worth mentioning. Though the Mets have played in the biggest market, they haven't acted like a big-market team for several years because of ownership's financial constraints. This may be a sign that those days, which the fan base struggled with, may be over. Seizing the chance to win is what the big-market teams do.
And bringing back Cespedes is something the fans have been aching for since the NL wild card game loss last month ended the Mets' season.
The Mets have landed their prime target for a second straight offseason but there is more to do.
They were going to need to add a high-caliber relief pitcher even before closer Jeurys Familia was arrested after a domestic violence incident that is likely to earn him a suspension from MLB. New York will probably find Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen too rich for their blood, but they now can focus on that. One option they are said to be mulling is trading Jay Bruce, though putting Cespedes and Bruce together in the middle of the lineup is pretty formidable on paper.
The club also needs to look into a catcher. Travis d'Arnaud is yet to approach the performance they expected of him when he was acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade.
Still, the biggest need on GM Sandy Alderson's to-do list is checked off.
A year ago, Cespedes was having trouble landing the big contract he coveted. There are those in baseball who believed it would remove his incentive to push through minor injuries and stay in the lineup for 145 games in a season. The big offer he got before the Mets got creative a year ago was $100 million for the Nationals with a bunch of deferred money.
But he made a statement to the Mets this past season. He had a sore quadriceps but kept producing. And though he couldn't keep his promise to play the season as the starting centerfielder, moving to left when the injury slowed him, his bat kept delivering.
The Mets know him and what he can do. And with the makings of a team that could reach one or more World Series in the next four years, they saw Cespedes as the way to get there. The big-market Mets are back and they are going for it.