Spring Fling: Yoenis Cespedes

I am a changed man.

I want a mulligan.

When Yoenis Cespedes first defected from Cuba and his representatives published the most zany workout video ever, I doubted him. I thought he would likely cost more than what he would end up coaxing from some general manager. I thought he would be a Nelson Cruz- type player, but double to triple the cost.

Nelson Cruz just inked a two year deal worth $15.5 million. The first two years of Cespedes’ contract will pay him $15 million. In total, the A’s signed Cespedes for $36 million over four years.

After the workout video buzz, their were claims that Cespedes would draw somewhere north of $50 million, possibly even $60 million.

I doubted Cespedes even in the video, while divulging the video for 20 minutes, all I could think about was how many other players could make a similar video accentuating their abilities. I think many players could, and are similarly gifted. I think Cespedes is not the only player in the bigs that has massive “core strength”.

All that being said- I still want a mulligan. And I want Cespedes in a Rangers uniform as quickly as possible.

I abstain from overreacting from Spring Training performances. But I will let Yoenis be the exception to my rule.

Within the gaggle of Rangers outfielders each of them has their warts.

Josh Hamilton is likely to be in another team’s outfield next spring.

Nelson Cruz’s hamstrings are almost as famous as his historic postseason.

David Murphy is a platoon player.

Craig Gentry is reminding us of his durability issues.

Julio Borbon leaves much to be desired.

Leonys Martin was a fine catch by the Rangers front office last year, but he is a Cuban, while Cespedes is the Cuban. Martin signed for $15.5 million dollars over five years, roughly a third AAV of what his countryman received.  Martin should hit for a higher average, while Cespedes will relinquish his contact rate, to facilitate his “core strength” upon opposing pitchers.

That core strength is something the Rangers could use in a few years. Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Cruz are all on one or two year deals. They also make up a sizable chunk of the Rangers offensive production. They will need to acquire power somewhere down the road.

Luckily, Cespedes landed on the trading block, and by that I mean the Oakland Athletics. Billy Beane is perpetually looking to maximize his pennies in Oakland. I wonder what Cespedes would fetch if he had a monster first half.

All of this is contradictory of the Shutdown Inning credo “Trust JD”. If Jon Daniels passed on Cespedes, than it’s the right move. But, I admit, I want to know what it would look like to be wrong, in this case.

Cespedes’ majestic bomb in his Cactus League debut was about as an exciting of a moment that could transpire in Spring Training.

I am not overlooking Yu Darvish, and the electric atmosphere his presence brings. I am just being greedy. Having Darvish and Cespedes on the same team for their rookie years would make for appointment baseball for 162 games.

The Rangers may not have been as aggressive on the Cespedes front, because they were trying to get the intricacies of the Jairo Beras signing ironed out. Beras is not a Ranger yet, and may never be, as his signing is under investigation due to discrepancies in the truth about the actual date of his birthday.

The Rangers signed the top two hitters out of the Dominican Republic last July in Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman. The Rangers are said to be more interested in another Cuban over Cespedes regardless. Jorge Soler is seven years younger than Cespedes, and while he would require some minor league seasoning, some scouts believe Soler possesses a higher ceiling.

Soler, Mazara, Guzman, Beras. Two of those are already Rangers, and it’s possible all four could be soon. They are also all outfielders, although Guzman is more likely to become a first-baseman.

The Rangers are targeting young, talented outfielders and not committing to their own talented outfielders. Hamilton is in his walk-year, and Cruz was only signed for his arbitration years. Murphy, Gentry and Borbon have not proven themselves to be regular fixtures in the Rangers outfield.

With the immediacy of Hamilton’s and Cruz’s departures, it would have been comforting to add Cespedes. But, I remind myself JD has always taken care of his roster, and surely provisions are being made for such a circumstance.

JD exploits the market, and he knows that leaving his outfield and lineup bare of power would allow other teams to force the hand of the reigning AL champs. I know that I “Trust JD” to not let this happen.

Maybe Cespedes’ “core strength” sighting wasn’t as majestic as it seemed, maybe I am just anxious for baseball and a fool for Bo Jackson’s love-child. Maybe.

Now that I have solved nothing, but have only confessed my love for “core strength”, I further admit there are two lingering premonitions I have: Did Bo Jackson ever visit Cuba roughly 27 years ago? And just out of curiosity, does Bo know Yo?

I am a changed man, can I get a mulligan?


Dan Allsup is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. You can email him at Dan.Allsup@shutdowninning.com or reach him on Twitter @SDIDan.
Dan Allsup

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