Sep 13, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) drives in a run with a sacrifice fly against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Cincinnati Reds fans who are hoping for a big right-handed bat to fill the team’s leftfield void may need to scratch Boston Red Sox slugger Yoenis Cespedes off their wishlist, at least in the near term. According to John Fay (via Twitter), Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has not discussed the Cuban star with the Red Sox:
Although this may be technically true, the situational match-up between the Reds and Red Sox is too strong to think that a Cespedes deal won’t be at least discussed between the two clubs as the winter wears on. We’ve been down this road before, but let’s do a quick rundown of the reasons that the Cespedes-to-the-Reds might still happen.
1) Cespedes Can Hit – Despite recent rumblings that Cespedes is not the superstar that many expected him to be, he remains 10-20% better than the average MLB hitter, as measured by OPS+, and the Reds need all the help they can get on offense.
2) The Reds Don’t Have a Leftfielder – This off-season, Cincinnati released Ryan Ludwick and traded Chris Heisey, which means their leftfielders from 2014 are gone. They probably won’t give youngster Jesse Winker a real shot at the Major League job for another year or five, so there is a hole in left.
3) The Red Sox Need Pitching – Boston made the early off-season headlines by signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, but they have done nothing to address their woeful rotation.
4) The Reds HAVE Excess Pitching – It’s been well documented that the Reds will have four free agents among their current rotation members come next off-season, and it’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario by which the team can sign them all. A trade seems inevitable.
5) There is Nothing to Lose – The Sox apparently don’t like Cespedes, and the Reds aren’t set up to contend as presently constructed. By trading a free-agent-to-be pitcher for the free-agent-to-be Cespedes, the Reds at least give themselves a slightly better chance to win in 2015 with virtually no added risk.
So, while the Reds and Red Sox may have not technically talked about Cespedes yet, that’s bound to change, especially with the MLB Winter Meetings set to start on Sunday. Get ready for more Cespedes talk, Reds fans.