Yoenis Cespedes took the world by surprise this off-season, being the star of a...different youtube video showcasing his talents. Cespedes gained interest from the Yankees, as well as the Florida Marlins, Detroit Tigers, and Boston Red Sox, among others.
The Yankees were reported as the front runners of the Cespedes sweepstakes by Frankie Piliere, a reliable source, yesterday.
Cespedes, an outfielder, is likely to officially become a free agent soon, and is likely to command a large deal. In fact, Grant Brisbee over at Baseball Nation predicted the following:
Marlins for seven years, $73 million, announced on La Decisión on C-SPAN3, right after a committee meeting on the fiscal health of the FHA.
The question is, though, why are the Yankees interested in Cespedes? The simple rebuttal to that is: why not?
Cespedes is "arguably best all around player to come out of Cuba in a generation," according to Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus.
The Yankees system has struggled in the outfield department in recent years, though the organization is extremely high on Mason Williams. (As am I)
The talent level of Cespedes combined with the supposed need for outfielders could be reason enough for the Yankees to sign Cespedes. There's more to a possible Cespedes signing, however, and you can learn more by following me after the jump!First of all, Cespedes is going to command a major league deal. The Yankees do not have an opening in their outfield right now, so a Cespedes signing will lead to the trading of one of Nick Swisher or Brett Gardner, in all likelihood.
The Yankees could be looking at Cespedes as their future center or right fielder, and in addition looking at Nick Swisher as a player that could bring back a starting pitcher in a trade.
In addition to that, with very few high level outfielders in the system, Cespedes would immediately bring relief to the Yankees outfield problems. The Yankees would not need to rush Slade Heathcott or Mason Williams, and could have leverage in Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher contract talks.
There are many reasons not to sign Cespedes, however.
-Cespedes has never played a game in the MLB, yet will demand a large deal. The Yankees will need to get in a bidding war with other interested teams, or try to work quickly and offer Cespedes a large contract right out of the gate. Regardless, the Yankees do not have much leverage in negotiations with Cespedes, especially considering their outfield is currently full.
-The Yankees do not need an outfielder for this season. I still see no reason to move Brett Gardner, (.383 OBP in 2010, OBP as high as .366 before late season slump) Curtis Granderson, (136 runs scored, 41 HR) or Nick Swisher. (.374 OBP) If Williams/Heathcott/Melky Mesa/Zoilo Almonte are not ready after the season, the Yankees could re-sign Swisher, or sign a free agent to a small deal.
-Jorge Soler is available, almost as good, and will come a lot cheaper. If the Yankees feel they need to sign an outfielder they should go for the cheaper target, one that could even start in AAA. Soler is 19, while Cespedes is 26. Baseball America's John Manuel said this of Jorge Soler:
Soler has a strapping 6-foot-3, 205-pound body and has five-tool potential
-Cespedes' first name is pronounced Yo-en-ess, not Yo-anus.
I vote that the Yankees should go all out for Soler, and try not to get involved with Cespedes. What do you think?