In the last few days there have been whispers that the San Diego Padres are monitoring the situation around Yoenis Cespedes and his free agent year. There are numerous reports that the 30-year-old outfielder is seeking at least a four-year deal, so it seems strange that the Padres would have interest in him.
It is probably no coincidence that these whispers came out the day after Justin Upton signed a six-year deal with the Detroit Tigers. Most every San Diego Padres fan knew the team was making no attempt to retain Upton, but the sight of him in a Tigers uniform is a harsh reality. All Padres fans can do is shake their heads.
Honestly there is no reason at all the Padres should be flirting with Cespedes. He is not likely to take a one or two-year deal and even at that, his cost would be in the $18-22 million dollar range. That money the Padres saved in moving Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit and Jedd Gyorko should be invested in numerous areas, rather than just spending it all on one single player. If you didn’t go after Upton, why go after Cespedes?
With six huge draft picks coming up for the Padres in 2016 the team has a bright future and should not get under the constraints of even more burdening salary. At least not at this point. Matt Kemp, James Shields and Melvin Upton Jr. are making $55.25 million dollars towards the Padres $101.1 million dollar projected payroll.
Adding Cespedes potential salary would take the team over the $120 million dollar mark and the Padres would be paying roughly 62% of their payroll to four players that are over the age of 30 and three of them would be outfielders. Cespedes is just not a great fit for the team. The team needs left-handed hitters and doesn’t need to take on major salary at the moment. Now if the team was able to move Melvin Upton Jr. then that would be a different story. However not too many teams are going to be willing to take on his salary for the next two seasons.
Cespedes would provide excellent defense and we all witnessed how he can carry a team on his back when he gets hot. Last season after being dealt to the New York Mets, Cespedes hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 57 games. He also recorded a 157 OPS+ for the Mets, leading them all the way to the World Series.
In his four season Cespedes has hit 106 home runs and driven in 362 runs. He has a career batting line of .271/.319/.486 with a 122 OPS+ for his career. His lack of on base percentage and high propensity to strike out are negatives to his game, but he has an absolute rocket arm and is a great defender. Cespedes has the ability to play center if needed as well, all though he is clearly a corner outfielder.
He would be a nice addition for the Padres, but with Upton and Kemp already draining the salary the likelihood is minimal at best. Also factor in that Hunter Renfroe is just about ready for major league service. The Padres will surely want to give him a chance to win a job if he has a hot spring. Rymer Liriano is also out of options and needs to be kept on the major league roster. The Padres also have Jon Jay and Travis Jankowski in the fold for outfield jobs. Right now the Padres might be weak in the outfield position, but they have plenty of bodies available in the system both at the major league level as well as the minor league level.
Cespedes to the Padres is not likely at all and you have to wonder if the two sides have even been in contact at all. Still trying to predict A.J. Preller’s moves is foolish, so you never know. Stay tuned because one way or another you have to think the Padres aren’t done reshaping this team for the 2016 season. More moves are on the horizon.