Here we sit in the middle of December and still no real big splash from the Red Sox this offseason. While Ben Cherington appears to be sticking to his well laid plan of buy-low and hope like hell, there is still an interesting option that will soon become available. That interesting option is of course Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes.
The 26-year old, who made the decision to defect from Cuba and take his chances as a free agent on the biggest stage in baseball, is garnering a lot of attention. And as expected, Cespedes will surely cash in when the team’s start the bidding war.
Our friends over MLB Trade Rumors first captured the report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan mentions that Cespedes and his agent, Adam Katz are expected to start the negotiations similar to that of Cincinatti Reds, Aroldis Chapman‘s contract of 6 years, $30.25 million. Passan also notes that during the winter meetings it was heard that Katz could seek a contract as high as $60 million for Cespedes. This is surely where the the penny conservative teams will pull out and the spenders will play.
Someone please cue Ben Cherington and let him know this is his time to make a statement to Red Sox Nation.
You’ve heard that the natives are getting restless and are awaiting a transaction that will restore faith in the powers that must be obeyed as my colleague Bill Smith would say. A handful of transactions have already been completed that have improved a couple of areas. Granted this team doesn’t need a complete overhaul, but right field continues to be a concern. Hence the Cespedes possibility.
Regardless of the money that the Cespedes party will demand, this young outfielder is worth investigating and quite possibly investing in.
Ben Cherington has already made the trip to the Dominican Republic back in November so he’s witnessed first hand the talent that Cespedes possesses. He’s a right handed bat that can play any outfield position and with right field still under speculation as to who will own the job come April, Cespedes would be a welcomed addition.
His batting numbers for last season are impressive; .333/.424/.667 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 90 games. He’s consistently hit well over .300 for the past three seasons and while some may question whether his age is legit, his numbers don’t lie, he’s got talent.
Another nice feature about the soon to be highly sought after free agent is his right handed bat. In a heavy left-handed lineup, Cespedes would provide that right sided plate appearance that manager Bobby V could slot in to break up the lefties.
Oh, and did I mention he’s considered to be a five tool player? Yes, he can hit for average, hit for power, has superb base running skills and speed, above average throwing ability and excellent fielding skills. Ken Griffy Jr. and Barry Bonds were also described as five-tool players, as is Alex Rodriguez. Let the drooling begin.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus called Céspedes “arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation.” That’s some heavy praise for a young man who hasn’t played a single inning in the Major Leagues.
If the Red Sox can in fact sign Cespedes it suddenly opens up a whole new window of possibilities. Not only does Josh Reddick become expendable in a trade package, but so to does Ryan Kalish. It could be the aforementioned piece that could be enough to lure Gio Gonzalez from the hands of Billy Beane in Oakland. A major upgrade in right also allows a major upgrade to the rotation.
One thing we know is certain; Cespedes will be an expensive investment. Especially when you consider both the Yankees and Phillies were once interested and now so to are the suddenly big spenders, Miami Marlins, amongst many others.
While going after a high-priced free agent like Cespedes was not part of the original plan that Cherington set out to abide by, it may be one that he has to make an omission for.