Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent. He can sign with whomever he wants, though it’s most likely that he’ll sign with a major league baseball team. We thought about selling all of our shirseys to try and make a run at Yo, but we realized he’s probably not interested in a 1-year, 74-dollar deal.
Unless he decides to join the PGA Tour earlier than expected, Yoenis is going to make a lot of money this winter — probably more than he’s actually worth. Barring an MC Hammer-level financial meltdown, Yoenis will never have to worry about money again after signing this contract. Not bad for a quiet dude from Campechuela.
Before the Yoenis sweepstakes heat up, we’d like to run through each team and investigate their prospects of signing the man with the fire-breathing Lamborghini.
31. Cespedes Family BBQ
Why Yes: We’re like, his biggest fans. We met him once and it seemed like he could tolerate us as friends for a longer period of time. We could hang out with Yoenis Cespedes on a regular basis.
Why No: We don’t have anything of value to offer to Yo, let alone millions upon millions of real actual dollars, which seems to be a key aspect to signing a big-time free agent.
30. Tampa Bay Rays
Why Yes: Yoenis already has a home in Florida. He could golf even more than he already does. This opens up the possibility of him swimming in the stingray pool at some point.
Why No: The most expensive free agent signing in the post-Devil Rays era, was the whopping 3-year $21 million deal they gave to James Loney a few years ago. No chance they can afford Yoenis, let alone his new car.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates
Why Yes: The Pirates are an extremely fun team to watch, and the black and yellow would be a solid addition to Yo’s already expansive repertoire of MLB uniform colors. Plus, on days that McCutchen sits the outfield of Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Yoenis would literally be the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Why No: With Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco (and Josh Harrison as a super-utility guy), Pittsburgh boasts the most talented cost-controlled outfield in baseball. No need for Yo here. That is, unless they have a spice-rubbed hog just hanging around.
28. Oakland Athletics
Why Yes: Every 8th grade girl ever once said: sometimes you have to go back home, to find out who you truly are. We never got to see him hit a ball completely out of the Coliseum. We want pictures of him with Steph Curry and we want them now.
Why No: They’d probably have to make like seven more Moneyball movies to afford him. A Yoakland reunion seems more likely to happen the next time Yo is a free agent once he’s lost a step or two.
27. Cleveland Indians
Why Yes: The people of Cleveland can never have enough distractions from the Browns. Yo and LeBron in the same damn city. At least they’re not Detroit!
Why No: That pesky MVP candidate Michael Brantley will still be roaming around left field for the next three years. Yoenis would not be coming home, because he is not from Cleveland.
26. Cincinnati Reds
Why Yes: Yoenis would singlehandedly double the Cuban population of Cincinnati. He would get a chance to make up for all the dingers he missed out on by not participating in the Home Run Derby in Cincinnati this past summer. Adam Duvall is currently listed as the Reds starting left fielder.
Why No: The Reds spent September quietly plummeting to the 2nd worst record in all of baseball, only barely being edged out by a team we all knew was shooting for the #1 overall pick (Philadelphia). The Reds are not trying to win now and Yoenis most likely prefers winning now. Yoenis will have already won his first British Open by the time Joey Votto’s deal is up.
25. Minnesota Twins
Why Yes: Yo’s return to the site of his first Derby victory (Citi Field) went pretty well, so why not return to the site of his epic second Derby performance? A lineup with Sano and Yo would be a healthy amount of awesome.
Why No: The Twins have an intriguing young outfield core in Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. Giving Yoenis $100+ million to “mentor” those up-and-comers doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Minnesota is cold.
24. Milwaukee Brewers
Why Yes: Bernie Brewer hasn’t been down his famous slide as much in recent years. We could nickname him Milwaukee’s Best because nothing else is named that… Right?
Why No: Bernie Brewer’s health and safety would be very much at risk with how many dingers Yoenis would be hitting in his general vicinity, and Bernie Brewer is much more important long-term to the Brewers than Yoenis could ever be.
23. Colorado Rockies
Why Yes: If we assume Yo’s True Coors Field Talent to be that of his August 21st demolition of Colorado pitching, they should probably hand him a blank check and say, “we’ll give you whatever, come slug 1.000 for the next 10 years.” Yoenis in Coors would be unfair and ridiculous, like auto-tuning Adele.
Why No: Nolan Arenado being so good at third base would probably decrease the likelihood of Yo making any insane throws from the left field corner. Also, come on: the Colorado Rockies are not signing Yoenis Cespedes.
22. Atlanta Braves
Why Yes: Fellow countrymen Hector Olivera and Adonis Garcia are on the Braves! Yoenis’ new custom walk-up song could be an Outkast, Killer Mike, Usher, Ludacris, and T.I. collaboration. Here is another Atlanta rap/baseball joke: Andre 3000 hit club. Thanks for reading.
Why No: Adding Yo, a good baseball player that helps teams win baseball games, would not coincide well with the Braves’ current plan to not win many baseball games.
21. Philadelphia Phillies
Why Yes: When you look at their roster, it becomes clear rather quickly that the Phillies biggest need is a Good Baseball Player, a label that is often prescribed to Mr. Cespedes. Philadelphia sports fans could use something to cheer about.
Why No: Much like Atlanta, it seems like this team is much more interested in losing baseball games for the foreseeable future. No reason to spend big on a free agent during Year Two of a lengthy rebuild. They also have future MVP, Hall of Famer, and chancellor of Germany, Aaron Altherr.
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
Why Yes: Dave Stewart is one of the most unpredictable/unconventional GMs in baseball and Arizona may be closer to contending than a lot of people realize. Yoenis could throw some dope pool parties. His favorite Harry Botter book is Order of the Phoenix, so…
Why No: Arizona left fielders (mostly David Peralta and Ender Inciarte) quietly produced the most fWAR among left fielders for any team in baseball last season.
19. Boston Red Sox
Why Yes: Dave Dombrowski is off-and-running in his first few months with Boston. He could acquire Yoenis Cespedes for a second time, which one would have to imagine is the ultimate goal for any front office executive.
Why No: Yo’s brief stop in Boston in 2014 didn’t go all that smoothly. There is already another expensive Cuban penciled into left field. We can’t handle any more Cespedes Family Clam Bake jokes.
18. St. Louis Cardinals
Why Yes: If Yoenis wants to be in the playoffs every damn year of his new contract, this is probably his best bet.
Why No: Matt Holliday’s tree trunk legs and comically enormous biceps will still be trolling around left field for the next two years, and may be literally, physically immovable.
17. Seattle Mariners
Why Yes: There’s a new sheriff in town and he appears eager to acquire every baseball player. Yo is represented by Brodie Van Wagenen and the Roc Nation crew, the guys that negotiated Robinson Cano’s enormous deal. Relying on Franklin Gutierrez to stay healthy is like relying on that swivel chair to keep you steady while you hang up your Franklin Gutierrez poster. Yoenis and Roenis could be teammates.
Why Not: The Seth Smith/Guti platoon just might work. If you set the minimum PA’s at 150, Guti lead the American League in SLG% in 2015. Jerry Dipoto appears much more interested in making relatively minor upgrades rather than a Yo-sized splash. Yo probably doesn’t want to be traded again anytime soon, and with Dipoto at the helm you never know what could happen next.
16. Los Angeles Dodgers
Why Yes: They just paid $44 million in luxury taxes. They can probably afford another bajillion dollar deal or two. Joc Pederson flanked by Yoenis Cespedes and Yasiel Puig is an outfield that you are now imagining and probably enjoying.
Why No: Yoeniswood? Cespywood? Tins-Yol Town? His name doesn’t quite lend itself to the left field fan section he would inevitably inspire. The Dodgers still owe a combined $79 million over the next two years to Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Scott Van Slyke’s beard is still hanging around. They definitely don’t want to hurt Scott Schebler’s feelings.
15. San Diego Padres
Why Yes: San Diego is in a weird spot, having traded away a ton of assets in an effort to win in 2015 with Justin Upton at the heart of the lineup. Upton is now almost certainly gone, and the black hole left in his spot has already began consuming the Padres’ hopes of contention. GM A.J. Preller probably does not enjoy that feeling, and A.J. Preller is a crazy person.
Why Not: The $75 million they gave James Shields last offseason was the largest free agent deal in Padres history. Yo’s new deal might end up at double that price. Preller is probably more likely to trade for Yoenis immediately after he signs with another team.
14. Kansas City Royals
Why Yes: Alex Gordon’s departure would open a gaping hole in left that the defending champs probably do not want to fill with Jarrod Dyson or Paulo Orlando. Back-to-back World Series runs have likely earned them more payroll flexibility. It’s the BBQ capital of America, which would make our lives a whole lot easier.
Why No: It’s still Kansas City. If they’re willing to spend Yo-level money, they’re way more likely to bring back the guy they’ve known forever (Gordon) instead of the guy they just watched look like absolute garbage in the World Series (Yoenis).
13. Chicago Cubs
Why Yes: Kyle Schwarber is awesome. Kyle Schwarber is probably not a left fielder. The Cubs would like to go the World Series and they just watched Yoenis go to the World Series instead of them. Yoenis winning the World Series with the Chicago Cubs would be cool and good.
Why No: Kyle Schwarber is awesome. Kyle Schwarber is probably stuck in left field for now. The cold sucks, and thus Yoenis is probably not interested in starting a Cuban version of the Blue Man Group with Jorge Soler.
12. Houston Astros
Why Yes: The Astros have rapidly transitioned from one of the worst teams we’ve ever seen to an exciting young squad with an extraordinarily bright, Carlos Correa-tinted future. This team loves dingers and low OBP’s more than any other organization. Yoenis + Minute Maid train tracks = fun times for all.
Why No: Colby Rasmus is back in left for 2016, at least. Jake Marisnick and Preston Tucker are much cheaper, much younger alternatives. It’s still unclear if the Astros’ new ownership group is ready to spend big in free agency.
11. Washington Nationals
Why Yes: Owner Ted Lerner is quietly approaching Mike Ilitch territory in that he would like to see his team win a championship…uhhh…sooner, rather than later, and is willing to go to extreme financial lengths to make that dream a reality (see: Scherzer, Max). Jayson Werth might finally be bad and Clint Robinson is probably not the long-term replacement. Yoenis could get involved in politics.
Why No: Werth is owed $42 million over the next two years and doesn’t seem like a dude who’d be happy sitting on the bench. A Cuban hasn’t received significant financial support from a DC-based organization since Fulgencio Batista.
10. Toronto Blue Jays
Why Yes: Donaldson, Tulowitzki, Encarnacion, Bautista, and Colabello clearly aren’t enough right-handed power for one lineup. Their current left fielder literally never hits home runs. Canadians could take all the money they save on healthcare and divvy up Yo’s contract between every citizen.
Why No: Okay, maybe right-handed power isn’t their biggest priority. Yoenis isn’t totally injury-prone, but he does seem like the Injury-Prone If Playing 81 Games A Year On Rogers Centre Turf kind of injury-prone.
9. New York Mets
Why Yes: Their deadline acquisition of Yoenis went just as about as well as anyone could have hoped. New York loves him, and he loves New York. We could start calling him the King of Queens.
Why No: He looked like trash in the postseason and it’s very possible the Mets can’t offer him more than $80 million and a scrapbook of their best memories together. Michael Conforto’s pretty damn good. All signs point to a return to Citi Field being highly unlikely.
8. New York Yankees
Why Yes: Since signing Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann before the 2014 season, the Yankees have seemingly missed out on [long list of high-end free agents], most recently their apparent bungling of their shot at Cuban uber prospect Yoan Moncada. Yoenis wouldn’t make them that much younger, but he’d offer a much more dynamic presence than any of their current players — even the good ones. As fun as Old Man A-Rod is, New York could use a superstar that can actually do fun things in the field as well.
Why No: Gardner and Ellsbury will be rotating back and forth between left and center for the next few years. If GM Brian Cashman really wants to flex his Yankee payroll muscles in order to improve his lineup, he may as well go after the younger, better outfield options (Heyward or Upton).
7. Chicago White Sox
Why Yes: Yoenis and Jose Abreu being on the same team would allow for even more pictures highlighting how much bigger Abreu’s head is than Yo’s. Beyond Abreu, this lineup ain’t pretty. Chicago’s most recent big free agent splash was Abreu, a fellow Cuban slugger. Hawk Harrelson calling Yoenis home runs.
Why No: Melky is still in left for the next two years, and we have no reason to believe the White Sox are suddenly going to spend $100+ million on a free agent. Hawk Harrelson calling Yoenis home runs.
6. Baltimore Orioles
Why Yes: The Orioles corner outfield situation right now is a mess. The 51-year old Brady Anderson, who hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2002 is penciled in as the opening day left fielder. Right field is most likely to be a David Lough-Jeffrey Maier platoon.
Why No: It seems that for the time being the Orioles are focused on doing everything they can to bring back Chris Davis. Baltimore hasn’t really shopped around at the top of the free agent market since the Javy Lopez/Rafael Palmiero/Miguel Tejada disaster of 2004.
5. Texas Rangers
Why Yes: They may have brought him back, but it’s hard to imagine Texas has total confidence in Josh Hamilton, Version 5.0: THIS TIME WITH EVEN MORE STRIKEOUTS. Yoenis to Texas would mean watching more Texas, and Texas has Adrian Beltre. More Adrian Beltre is always better. They’ve proven to be willing to sign/take on some enormous contracts. What’s another $140 million to a couple energy tycoons?
Why No: Even if you ignore Hamilton, Joey Gallo will need a place to play pretty soon and Shin-Soo Choo is still in right for another…*double-take*…FIVE years?!
4. Miami Marlins
Why Yes: As we’re reminded every single offseason, there’s a huge Cuban population in Miami. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made his money dealing art; there’s no reason to stop now. Marcell Ozuna will almost definitely get traded, and unless the Marlins want to give Ichiro another 400 PA’s like they did last year (438!!!), you have to think they’re in the market for another outfielder. Yoenis and Giancarlo Stanton with hitting coach Barry Bonds? Count me in.
Why Not: You really have to wonder if Loria is willing to dish out the lucrative deal that Yoenis is going to command. If Ozuna goes, either Yelich or Yoenis would have to spend significant time in center, which is not ideal for either player.
3. Detroit Tigers
Why Yes: Yo showed Detroit what he’s capable of in his first few months with the Tigers before being shipped to New York, and was the perfect complement to Miggy, Victor, and the suddenly awesome J.D. Martinez in the heart of the order. When you have an owner that outright says he’s not worried about spending money, you can’t rule out a big signing, even after giving Jordan Zimmermann $110 million. Yo’s departure this past season also opened a decent-sized hole in left field that Detroit probably doesn’t want to fill with Anthony Gose and/or Tyler Collins.
Why Not: If Ilitch really doesn’t have any reservations about spending wildly to win as soon as possible, he may as well go get Upton or Heyward and get more of their peak years as Miggy and crew begin to decline. Perhaps most importantly, there isn’t a ridiculous rap song called “Welcome Back 2 Detroit”.
2. San Francisco Giants
Why Yes: Like a Monopoly player who takes the game way too seriously, it seems like the Giants have spent the last few offseasons saving up their World Series money so they could make some noise in this stacked free agent class. San Francisco also has very few long-term contracts to worry about; Posey, Pence, Cain, and Bumgarner are the only post-arb players under contract beyond 2016. At the end of the 2016 season, the Giants will shed nearly $50 million as Pagan, Peavy, Romo, Casilla, Lopez, and Blanco are all set to become free agents. Yoenis has played in the Bay Area before and who wouldn’t want to get paid millions of dollars to live in San Francisco and play baseball? Yoenis would also have a shot at becoming the first right-handed hitter to hit a ball into McCovey Cove. The Giants have a legendary #25, maybe it’s time they get a legendary #52.
Why Not: He’s not going to have any baseball blogs named after him, but Gregor Blanco is a perfectly sufficient left fielder. The Giants have also made it clear that their number one priority this offseason is improving their rotation. They’re shooting for Greinke; if they miss out on him, then their attention probably turns to an impact bat like Yoenis.
1. Los Angeles Angels
Why Yes: The Angels left field situation was one of the biggest reasons they missed out on the 2015 playoffs by one game. After a disastrous start from Matt Joyce, the Angels traded for David DeJesus, David Murphy, and David Shane Victorino. All those names are now free agents and so without a signing or a trade, left field in Angels Stadium will be an Efren Navarro, Colin Cowgill, and Rafael Ortega jamboree. Arte Moreno has shown a willingness to spend exorbitant amounts of money on free agents in the past. And weirdly enough, the Angels actually have some contracts coming off the books in the near future. Both CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver are free agents after 2016 and the Josh Hamilton payments to Texas are done after 2017. This is still a team with a ton of money locked up, but it’s also a team built to win in the short-term. With the farm system looking like a men’s league softball waiver wire, the future is now. If the Angels sign Yoenis, they’d have both the best and the most exciting player in baseball.
Why Not: Much like their fellow wealthy Yo contenders mentioned above, the Angels are probably going to go after Heyward and Upton before turning their focus to Yoenis. Their current left field situation simply cannot remain the way it is if the Angels want to contend. Yoenis makes a lot of sense, but he’s not the only solution. All factors considered, Anaheim appears to be the most likely destination for our hero.
So, there you have it. Flawless rationale behind why any one of your favorite teams can sign Yoenis Cespedes, with equal consideration given to why they totally won’t. Ultimately, the Yo market will most likely be determined by which big-spending teams miss out on Heyward and Upton. Yo might be some team’s Plan B, but it’s just about the dopest Plan B you could think of. Now you know how we see it. Where do you think Yo ends up? Tweet us your crazy Yo destinations and your rationale behind them @CespedesBBQ. Happy Hot Stove-ing!
Photo: Anthony J. Causi, New York Post
God damnit, now all I want in life is to see Wrigley’s bleachers filled with dudes painted blue in April and October in celebration of the Cuban Blue Man Group outfield.