Blue Jays Trade Candidate: Is Yoenis Cespedes a Good Target?
With the Red Sox making a serious commitment to players who do not pitch, they have created an interesting dilemma in Boston. They have a bounty of positional players and need pitching. One way to address their pitching needs would have been to go out and sign pitching, which they still may do. But, so far what they’ve done is sign two big contracts to Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. So, their pitching may come via the trade route.
SD: Perhaps one such trade partner could be the Toronto Blue Jays. Here’s what I’m thinking: Yeonis Cespedes has one year left on his contract and will most certainly walk at the end of it. He is a power hitter with a power arm from left field. The Blue Jays need a left fielder if indeed the on again off again re-signing drama doesn’t pan out with Melky Cabrera. I say, we make an attempt to bring in Cespedes. Imagine, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Cespedes in the heart of the lineup!
RM: That would be a very dynamic 3-4-5, no doubt about it. I struggle with the cost of trading within the division. What would it cost Alex Anthopoulos to acquire Yoenis?
SD: Let’s see. He’s making $10.5M next season. He’s made it clear in every city that he will explore free agency. His contract stipulates that if he is traded, the “receiving team” cannot offer a qualifying offer (Ken Rosenthal explains it well HERE) So, they are not trading away a potential draft pick. If the Blue Jays are willing to pay $10.5M (and why wouldn’t they) they are basically renting him for a full season. The only thing that would be a sticking point (thus really driving up the price) is the trading within the division. Well, the fact that it took Jon Lester to get him is also a big hump to negotiate. But, the Red Sox need pitching. What about Sean Nolin, J.A. Happ, or heck, R.A. Dickey? I know they don’t really need position players, but I’d at least listen on them too.
RM: I don’t think that would even scratch the surface of Cherington’s asking price. Cherington would be looking to acquire a future ace, since he gave one up in the deal to acquire Cespedes in the first place. One of our big three arms would have to be included just to get the conversation started.
SD: Cespedes wasn’t the target of that deal. Oakland wanted Lester. Cespedes was the cost. Cherington wasn’t going after Cespedes and it cost him Lester. It was the other way around.
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They had to get SOMETHING for Lester. I don’t think you can compare the situations. This situation is different. They have too many outfielders with talent. It would be silly to hold on to him and risk playing time for one of their younger (cheaper) guys. Trading Cespedes and all of the contract stuff (he’s a rental) I mentioned before and getting a young, controllable pitcher is more of an even trade than you are admitting. However, I am not saying just one young gun. I’d start with Nolin. I’d be willing to include another arm too.
RM: You have got to be under the influence right now. How many times have we told you not to drink and blog? Nolin would be a throw in when discussing a trade for Cespedes and I like Nolin. I think Nolin is ready to be a Major League 5th starter this year. You need to do better than Nolin.
SD: So, sober me up. What do you think is going to be the package?
RM: The Blue Jays don’t have what it takes to get this deal done. And, I would hope Alex would be smart enough to walk away. Cherington would want Marcus Stroman and maybe another prospect. R.A. Dickey wouldn’t be enough, nor would JA Happ. Boston wants a top of the rotation starter.
SD: Way to go out on that limb. Listen, fortune favors the bold. I really don’t like timid approaches to building a winner. There are never any guarantees. Ever. I’m not saying to mortgage the future for Cespedes, but we do have the goods to make it happen. Perhaps the problem is that we’d have to give up too much of the hard work that AA worked so hard to build.
SD: Perhaps, I am getting caught up in the big fish acquisitions, maybe Cespedes will cost too much. But I really think the Blue Jays are in win NOW mode. Cespedes would help.
RM: Right or wrong I never like to trade within my division. For this reason Cespedes is not a trade I would pursue. I would hate to trade a Daniel Norris and have to face him several times a year for the next 5 years.