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A Bird In the Hand: Should Cespedes Be Traded?


Jun 20, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes (52) reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The A’s should trade Yoenis Cespedes.

I have your attention?  Good.  I don’t know if I believe that last statement or not.  But the D-Backs’ rumors got me thinking.

We all know that no Athletic is immune from trade.  It’s the old saying.  Everything’s for sale.  It’s the price that’s unknown.  Well, if the rumors are to be believed, the price is at least a couple of solid pitchers.  And presumably, someone to play left field.  Although the current outfield depth probably has that covered.

So the question remains, should the A’s trade La Potencia?

On the one hand, the answer is a clear yes.  But, but but….hear me out.

Cespedes was the second highest player on the team last year at 8.5 million.  That’s a lot for a second year player.  Unheard of for an A not named Eric Chavez.  For that money, last year, Yoenis batted .240, hit 26 homers with 80 steaks, struck out 137 times and drew 37 walks.  He stole seven bases and in a rare amount of baseball symmetry, was caught stealing seven times. 

Not exactly an MVP campaign.

So the thought arises, maybe we should trade him now, before another campaign like this one further lowers his buzz.


Anyone who watched the A’s last year had to be troubled by Yo’s lack of situational hitting awareness.  No matter the count, no matter the inning, no matter who was on base, he swung from his shoes.

And more often than not, wound up looking like a man trying to wave a bee from his face.

I’m not a baseball professional.  But it appeared to me that Cespedes developed a serious hole in his swing.  Low and away.  That man loves the pitch low and away.  And he swang at pitches I had a better chance of hitting from the second deck.

I don’t really want to talk about his fielding.  He’s a left fielder.  Sure he was a finalist for Gold Glove.  Four runs saved and ten assists were good enough for sixth in the AL.  Suffice to say, left field in the majors is not a position that’s jammed with athletes.  Frankly, if Yoenis fielded the way he looks, he’d be playing center.  Or second base.  I don’t think anyone believes that, like Reddick, his glove is too valuable to bench.

So what do the A’s have in Cespedes?  Slugging potential.  How long do they wait for that to develop?  History says not long.

And maybe they shouldn’t.  Right now, he’s a mystery.  He’s still the guy in the Youtube video.  Maybe he was injured.  Maybe he’ll come back.  He’s so young.  He can develop.

Maybe.  But maybe he’s Travis Lee.  Maybe he’s Matt White or Chad Mottola.  Worse, maybe he’s Chris Young.

So what’s the argument for keeping him?  We already ran through some it.  He’s young, he’s still raw, maybe he can read some really thick books and get a whole lot smarter.  Maybe he can buy Ted Williams’ eyes on the black market. 

But the best argument is simply this.  For the $10.5 million he’ll earn next year, 26 dingers and 80 RBI aint bad.  Nelson Cruz got $10.5 million last year for very similar numbers (27 and 76).  This year, 2014, Cruz would cost a lot more.  Maybe $15 million?  And Cruz hit just .266. 

Is that bump in average worth another $4.5 million?  For a 33 year old?  Probably not.  Even outside the PED problem.

 Mark Trumbo is a possible candidate.  He’s cheap, although arbitration eligible.  If you could sign him to a five or six year deal at below market value….maybe.  Although an OBP of .294 takes the bloom off that rose.

So the biggest reason not to trade him may just be that, at the price, there’s not much better out there.  Absent the Rockies cutting Cuddyer loose, or the Angels souring on Mike Trout, at the price, Yoenis is something of a bargain. 

So should the A’s trade Cespedes?  If the price is right, sure.  But looking around, the cupboards are fairly bare of equal value.  So right now, the answer seems to be no.

Besides, I’d like one more season of the “See the ball, hit the ball,” commercial.