Mets fans start GoFundMe campaign to help pay for Yoenis Cespedes' new contract

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By JOHN DORN

New York Mets fans are currently riding high, with their team finally back on top of the National League East and newly acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes leading the offense.

But when the Mets traded for Cespedes last week -- a pivotal addition for this year's team currently fighting for a playoff spot -- it came with an unfortunate quirk. Due to an unusual clause in the 29-year-old's contract, New York must release Cespedes five days after the World Series, making him a free agent.

It'll be a daunting reality for the Mets, whose ownership group has been financially crippled after involvement in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Team payroll has dipped from second-highest in the MLB in 2009 at over $134 million to 22nd in 2011. It currently sits at $109 million, which still ranks in the bottom half at 17th.

Understandably, Mets fans are concerned that their management won't be able to afford a new contract for Cespedes once he hits the open market this November. So they're doing what they can to help.

Mets fan Michael Cavallaro opened a GoFundMe campaign on Monday to help cover some of the expected cost. He explained further:

The arrival of star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets has coincided with a sudden burst of production and energy that this ball club/fan base has not seen in nearly a decade. As Cespedes is in the final year of his contract, the goal of this page is to raise the funds necessary to sign the slugger to a contract extension which otherwise seems unlikely given the state of the team's ownership

With a target goal of $120 million -- a rough estimate of how much Cespedes will garner in free agency -- the campaign surely has a lofty goal. It's raised a modest yet still impressive $275 in a little over a day. For clarity: No donor is charged unless the campaign's goal is completely met.

Though entertaining, this method isn't completely new to Mets fans. Before the trade deadline, another fan opened a similar campaign accompanied by a video plea to help raise money for a deadline acquisition. It raised $12,000 before it was closed.

The team wound up acquiring difference-making talent at the deadline, but one whose benefits may only last for two months. If the fans pony up some serious cash, though, maybe not.

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