Yoenis Cespedes still remains without a team for 2016. The offseason has progressed, so we’ll look at the 5 most likely teams to land the star outfielder.
By Gregg Cambareri
It’s been a surprisingly slow MLB offseason thus far, as many top free agents still remain unsigned. One of the bigger, yet polarizing names on the list, is Yoenis Cespedes.
The 30 year old Cuban outfielder had a career year in 2015, which you would think has lined him up for a big pay day. Considering Jason Heyward is the only major outfielder to have signed a long term deal thus far, speculation around Cespedes’s market remains skeptical.
Several teams such as the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, Giants, and Cubs, have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly on pitching upgrades. This has somewhat limited the market for remaining positional players, Cespedes obviously being one of them.
Why hasn’t Cespedes signed yet? The answer is complicated.
Firstly, he just turned 30, and is seeking a deal of at least 6 years. Teams might be reluctant to make long term commitments to players age 30 or older, considering the disastrous looking deals given to players like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Robinson Cano.
While he won’t come attached with draft pick compensation, he has played for 4 teams over the past 2 years. That certainly raises red flags about his character, although he seemed to enjoy his time in New York.
Lastly, the contract he is seeking probably won’t be anywhere near his actual worth. He posted a career best 6.3 WAR, after never having a 4.0+ WAR season before. He also recorded career highs in slugging, OPS, total bases, homers, RBI’s, runs scored, and hits. The likelihood of Cespedes coming anywhere close to last season’s monstrous stat line is low.
His sub-par plate discipline, lackadaisical hustle in the outfield, and high strike out rate are also certain to scare GM’s away from a long term commitment. While he did notch his first career gold glove this past season, there are plenty of weaknesses in his game.
After you’ve lined up the pros and cons of Cespedes’s game, you are left with an elite, yet inconsistent talent, and a polarizing figure. He’s going to command big bucks at some point, from some desperate enough team, just who might that team be?
Let’s take a look at 5 teams where Cespedes could sign this offseason.