Handicapping Cespedes’ Future in Oakland


Since the Oakland Athletics signed Yoenis Cespedes to the 4 year, $36 million contract that brought him to the Major Leagues for the first time, the running joke among fans around baseball was just how long would it take for them to deal the Cuban slugger.  We are now almost halfway through that 4 year pact, and the speculation has started to surface about whether or not Cespedes could be dealt in the coming offseason.  ESPN’s Buster Olney appeared on “The Rise Guys” on 95.7 The Game this week and hinted that there could be some serious trade buzz surrounding Cespedes during this offseason.

Aug 11, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes (52) signs memorabilia before their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

While Billy Beane has never met a deal he won’t consider, the notion of trading Cespedes seems almost inconceivable.  He is as talented as any player in the league, but he hasn’t been able to put his potential to use to become the MVP caliber player we all thought he could be.  When he burst onto the scene last season, he showed us all glimpses of the talent that made him so highly sought after when he arrived from Cuba.  Needless to say it’s been disappointing to see him regress in 2013, and there are now just as many questions about his future as there were before he made his debut.

So that leaves us with two major questions regarding his future with the A’s.  How important is he to the long term success of the franchise? And what type of return could he bring on the trade market?

Both of these questions need to be answered by Billy Beane and the brain-trust of the Athletics before they make a decision about what to do with Cespedes.  If his presence is of great importance to the success of the franchise in the long term, or if the trade market doesn’t bear the type of return they’d be seeking then they will keep him in the fold.  If they decide the team can succeed without him, or if they receive overwhelming offers for him then they must maximize his value on the market.

For A’s fans, it’s a tough pill to swallow, and one we’ve all had to take time and time again over the years.  From Mark McGwire to Tim Hudson, Nick Swisher to Gio Gonzalez (Of course Gio was brought to Oakland in the Swisher deal), A’s fans have grown accustomed to watching their favorites change uniforms.  Personally, it’s made me become almost numb to the idea of anyone on the Athletics being traded away.  Ultimately, any move that helps the team is alright in my book.

After this season, the outfield may find itself in a state of transition.  With Coco Crisp a free agent, and Michael Choice likely ready to make the jump to the Show, the outfield could take on a very different look in 2014.  Whether Cespedes is part of that outfield remains to be seen, but fans should be aware that it’s far from guaranteed.