How Pablo Sandoval’s Boston Red Sox Deal Could Send Yoenis Cespedes to the Cincinnati Reds


Sep 27, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) hits an RBI single during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox rightly made all the baseball headlines yesterday when they inked both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to rich new contracts. What is yet to be worked out is how these deals will ripple to other teams, but there is at least one scenario in which the Sawx’s spending could rejuvenate the Cincinnati Reds in 2015. Especially in the case of Sandoval, there is a clear sequence of events that could bring Yoenis Cespedes to the Riverfront.  

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1) Red Sox Sign Sandoval

Of the two Boston deals from yesterday, the one for Pablo Sandoval was most disputed in the news. He signed!  Oh, wait, he’s still deciding.  No, he signed!  Well, the Padres aren’t out yet.

It turns out that the Sox did sign Sandoval, and most reports have the deal worth somewhere around $100 million, as Jon Heyman reported yesterday morning.  That money was apparently too much for Sandoval’s former employers, the San Francisco Giants, which led to …

2) Giants In on Jon Lester

With it becoming evident yesterday that Sandoval was not coming back to the Bay Area, the Giants reportedly began to focus their attention and free agent dollars on lefty Jon Lester.  That’s one more high-profile Lester suitor added to a list that includes the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, maybe the Texas Rangers.  Given that the Giants have money now, and the Sox have less of it, the chances of Lester returning to Boston seem slimmer than ever.

So …

3) The Red Sox Still Need Pitching

Despite biting on two of the big bats on the market, the fact is that the Red Sox need stronger pitching if they hope to contend in 2015.  As they cast their eyes over the baseball landscape, they’re likely to find that …

4) The Reds Have an Excess of Starting Pitching

It’s well-known that the Reds have four relatively strong starters who will be free agents at the end of 2015.  Keeping all of them seems out of the question, and besides …

5) The Reds Need Help At-Bat and in Left Field

Sporting the third-worst offensive attack is not acceptable for a team that plays in Great American Ball Park, so yeah, the Reds need help at the plate.  They also have a gaping hole in left field, which is not really any bigger now than it was during the season, but which still needs to be filled.  In addition …

6) Reds Owner Bob Castellini Wants to Compete

At the risk of being blunt, Castellini is getting long in the tooth and probably does not want to undertake an extensive rebuild, especially when the team is set to host the 2015 All-Star Game.  So …

7) Walt Jocketty and Ben Cherington Will Talk

Ben:  Hey, couldn’t help but notice that you have a  lot of arms.

Walt: True, but why should I help you?

Ben: Well, how would you feel about …

8) Mat Latos for Yoenis Cespedes

In this scenario, the Reds would send Latos to the Red Sox for Cespedes.  Latos has great potential, but has yet to REALLY burn it at the Major League level, and he was hurt for a good part of last season.  He’s set for arbitration this winter, and his salary should creep into eight digits.  Next year, free agency.

On the other hand, Cespedes has great potential, but has yet to REALLY burn it at the Major League level, and he was apparently a clubhouse problem after coming to Boston in July.  He’s set to make $10.5 million in 2015.  Next year, free agency.

Sox get their arm, Reds get their bat.

There is no perfect deal in MLB, particularly for a flawed team like the Reds, but this one would be about as good as it gets in 2015.   If Jocketty and Castellini are serious about contending, they need to add an offensive presence in left field without decimating the existing roster, and this would come pretty close.

Besides, wouldn’t it be fun to watch Cespedes win the Home Run Derby as a Red at Great American Ball Park?