The second Yoenis Cespedes opted out of his contract with the New York Mets, he effectively became the most coveted free agent on the 2017 market.
When Yoenis Cespedes was dealt to the Boston Red Sox back in 2014, it appeared as if the two sides were a match made in heaven.
Between the outfielder’s athleticism, firepower, and pure prestige, Fenway Park could have realistically been viewed as a long-term home for the (then) 28-year-old. Aided by the green monster, he was destined to be one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the American League.
Unfortunately, for the sake of major league baseball, the partnership was short-lived. The following season commenced with La Potencia measuring fly balls in left field at Comerica Park. Later in 2015, he was found leading the New York Mets to a National League pennant.
With that said, the rough ending to a fruitful marriage in the Big Apple has brought about new, inevitably favorable, circumstances for the big right-handed bopper. After walking away from $47.5 million in his remaining contract with the Mets, Cespedes is destined to receive the first lucrative multi-year contract of his career.
The question persists as to where.
While many teams will make bids, with most coming up short, do not count out the folks in Beantown.
What the Red Sox are losing with the retirement of legendary slugger David Ortiz — 2016’s American League leader in RBIs (127), doubles (48), slugging (.620), and OPS (1.021) — they can, at least partially, regain with Cespedes. The tenacity he brings to the table, and the fear that will run through an opposing pitcher’s spine when he digs in, seeking a mistake that would only need to be struck a mere 310 feet from home plate.
Furthermore, his tendency to leisurely approach plays in the outfield will only play to his benefit in Boston, especially if he becomes accustomed to the proper left field strategy at Fenway Park. As for his arm, it would give baserunners fits, eliminating any chance of advancing multiple bases when the ball clanks off the wall.
Funds never seem to be a problem in Boston, as the front office is not known to shy away from improving their World Series odds by way of the checkbook. However, a fair question can be posed with regards to why the Sox would entertain such a move.
Simply put, with an unstable rotation that must be bettered in the offseason, help cannot and will not be obtained via free agency — the best FA option is essentially a 43-year-old Bartolo Colon.
If the organization addresses the issue through the trade market, the aforementioned youthful studs would — in all likelihood — lure a major return.
As a result, a left field vacancy would bring about a desire for one final piece to the puzzle: an established veteran who is now used to playing under the spotlight of a big city, and carrying a team in the process.
The difference would simply be in the level of reliance. With explosive bats up and down the order, the 31-year-old could practically fly under the radar — if there ever was such a role for a force who blasts 30 homers and drives in 100 runs.
While a star outfielder may not currently be on the top of Boston’s priority list, crazier expenditures have taken place.
View the Red Sox as a dark horse heading into the Cespedes sweepstakes, and do not be surprised if the two parties become increasingly interested in one another.
After all, repeating as AL East champs — and replicating the team’s magical offensive output of 2016 — will be no walk in the park.