NEW YORK (AP) – Yoenis Cespedes opted out of the remaining two years of his contract with the New York Mets on Saturday to become a free agent again.
Acquired by the Mets from Detroit at the July 31 trade deadline in 2015, Cespedes had 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games with the Mets down the stretch, helping them reach the World Series for the first time since 2000.
After finding a slow market in a free-agent class that also included Jason Heyward, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton, Cespedes made a surprise return to the Mets when New York agreed in January to a $75 million, three-year contract that allowed him to opt out after one season and $27.5 million.
Cespedes had 31 homers and 86 RBIs in 132 games, slowed after injuring his right quadriceps on July 8. He hit one home run after Sept. 11.
The 31-year-old slugger gives up $47.5 million — $23.75 million in each of the next two years.
After helping the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908, outfielder Dexter Fowler declined his part of a $9 million mutual option in favor of a $5 million buyout.
Other outfielders on the free-agent market include major league home run leader Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista, Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick and Matt Holliday.
Pitcher Jaime Garcia's $12 million option was exercised by St. Louis, and outfielder Cameron Maybin's $9 million option was exercised by the Los Angeles Angels, who acquired him from Detroit on Friday.
Kansas City declined its $7 million option on 33-year-old right-hander Luke Hochevar, whose season was cut short by surgery in August to relieve numbness caused by thoracic outlet syndrome. Hochevar will receive a $500,000 buyout.
The Toronto Blue Jays picked up their $3 million option on right-hander Jason Grilli.