In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Yoenis Cespedes, OF
2014 stats*: .260 batting average, .301 on-base percentage, 36 doubles, 22 home runs, 100 RBIs, 16 outfield assists
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*Split between Oakland and Boston
When the Boston Red Sox traded Jon Lester to Oakland at the MLB trade deadline, it looked like the Red Sox were fleecing the A's by trading away a rental for a power bat controllable for another year. Now, it's looking more and more like Cespedes might not play another game in a Red Sox uniform, either.
The Boston Globe has reported that Cespedes could be dealt this winter after he unwillingly was moved to right field and seemed to not enjoy the pressure-packed daily grind of playing in Boston. Cespedes has a big bat, as the Rangers know good and well from his time with Oakland, and he also has one of the best outfield arms in the game. You'd think the idea of playing with fellow Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin would have Cespedes happy about joining the Rangers, and he'd also get 18 chances a year to play his former team.
Cespedes would cost $10.5 million for the 2015 season and then would become a free agent. Interestingly, that amount is cheaper than what the Rangers paid Alex Rios in 2014, just as a reference point. The Rangers already plan on moving Shin-Soo Choo to his more natural position of right field and then could plug Cespedes into his preferred left field.
Currently, the Rangers' plan in left is to fill it internally with a combination of guys like Jake Smolinski, Ryan Rua and Dan Robertson. They'd have to cut elsewhere if they pay for Cespedes, but they could make it work.