Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent. The Cuban outfielder was thought to be retained by the New York Mets, but contract negotiations broke down after it became known the number of years the organization offered him.
The Mets offered Cespedes a three-year offer, but dollar amounts were never discussed. Cespedes was projected by Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors to receive a six-year deal worth upwards of $140 million dollars.
With the outfielder demanding that type of contract, the possibilities of where he will land are limited. It’s speculated that he could wind up with the Kansas City Royals, who will need a quality left fielder if they don’t retain Royals fan favorite Alex Gordon. Cespedes could also return to Detroit, who traded him to the Mets before the deadline last season, or he could join NL West rival the San Francisco Giants.
San Diego isn’t a projected suitor to land Cespedes, but as we’ve seen before, nothing seems impossible for A.J. Preller. With Justin Upton not returning, which appears likely, Preller will need a big bat to put in left field. However, convincing a player like Cespedes to choose the lowly Padres over the Giants, who seem to win the World Series in every even year, won’t be easy.
Cespedes is right-handed, and adding him will add him to a lineup that was considered too right-handed last season. However, Cespedes is projected to have good numbers next season, according to Baseball Reference. He’s projected to hit .265 with 26 home runs and 88 RBIs.
Addressing the left field issue is just one more thing Preller has to tackle before Spring Training, along with finding an everyday shortstop and shoring up the pitching staff.
With Spring Training less than two months away, it will be interesting to see just what the GM has up his sleeve. But will the Padres be willing to give Cespedes the type of money he is looking for? It’s hard to say. Preller certainly freed up money by dealing away Craig Kimbrel and the contracts of Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy being taken off the books.
San Diego still has a few large contracts to account for, those belonging to James Shields, Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr. The Padres still have some wiggle room to make one or two quality free agent signings, but that room reduces greatly if they give Cespedes the contract he wants.
Preller still needs to find a shortstop, and one name being mentioned is Ian Desmond. Desmond is looking for a big deal of his own, and signing Cespedes makes that much less probable than it already is. San Diego could try to resign Upton, who is looking for a big deal of his own, but could certainly return to San Diego, having played a season there already. Another option would be to give a shot to one of the team’s outfield prospects, which is the most inexpensive option.
The Hot Stove hasn’t been turned on much in the Padres’ kitchen. However, that could change after the new year.