Red Sox could look to trade Yoenis Cespedes this offseason


As it stands, the Red Sox look to have one of the better offenses in baseball entering the offseason and the outfield is one of the deepest parts of that lineup. Between Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, and Allen Craig, the Red Sox could potentially have five above-average outfielders next season. Therefore, with a depleted pitching rotation, it makes sense that Boston could seek to trade some of their outfield depth for arms. What is a bit of a surprise, however, is that one of the outfielders that the Red Sox could look to trade is Yoenis Cespedes.

Numerous rumors have suggested that the Red Sox are planning to make Cespedes available this winter, which is a bit of a shock on the surface. Cespedes, acquired at the trade deadline, slashed a solid-but-unspectacular .260/.301/.450 in 2014 and offers elite right-handed power that should play very well in Fenway Park going forward. At 28 years old, he is in the middle of his prime and could anchor the Red Sox lineup for years if they are able to extend him.

However, that looming free agency does cast a shadow of doubt over his future with the Red Sox. Cespedes has just one year remaining on the 4 year/$36M deal that he signed with the Oakland A’s and, after joining Jay Z’s agency Roc Nation Sports today, it’s clear that he is seeking a major league payday in free agency. If the Red Sox are unable to lock up Cespedes at a reasonable price, then it would make sense to deal him before he reaches free agency and he probably would not be a huge loss to the team.

While his right-handed power would be missed, Betts, Castillo, and Victorino are all more than adequate outfielders and could all be trusted with starting jobs in the 2015 outfield. Plus, those three would make for an incredible defensive outfield that would inject some speed into the Red Sox both defensively and on the base paths.

Additionally, the Red Sox could likely flip Cespedes– whose high-energy style and raw power make him a popular, if overrated, player– to a contending team in need of an outfield bat for at least a reliable starting pitcher. Alone, he probably wouldn’t net the Red Sox the elite starter that they desperately need, but packaged with a few prospects, it’s possible that the Red Sox could land a top pitcher like Cole Hamels or Jeff Samardzija by trading Cespedes.

With that being said and taking the team’s needs into account, it could certainly make sense to trade Cespedes. He’s a great power hitter but, with 2015 being his contract year, the Red Sox may not be willing to spend what it takes to retain him for the future. Thus, they could turn him into a young, cost-controlled starting pitcher that would really give the Red Sox the final advantage in the Jon Lester trade, particularly if they are able to sign Lester as well.