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Should the Rays take a flier on Yoenis Cespedes?

In a word? No.

San Diego Padres v New York Mets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Mets have had a bizarre offseason in which they’ve hired a new manager and then had to let him go before he ever actually managed a game; meanwhile, they also renegotiated a contract with Yoenis Cespedes after it was revealed that he was injured while being chased by a wild boar on his ranch.

Prior to the restructuring, Cespedes was set to make nearly $30M in 2020, his final year under contract. However, due to his unfortunate boar incident, Cespedes will make just $6M this upcoming season.

At one point in time, Cespedes was among the more fearsome sluggers in the game and he eventually earned a huge payday from the New York Mets. Heading into the 2017 season, the New York Mets signed Cespedes to a four year, $110M deal.

It’s been a struggle for Cespedes to remain healthy since signing the mega deal with New York. He managed 1.6 fWAR and a 132 wRC+ over just 80 games played in 2017, and then played in just 38 games during the 2018 campaign. Cespedes missed all of the 2019 season, with the aforementioned injury suffered at the hooves of a merciless boar.

Cespedes is an unknown for the Mets. His defense has been spiraling in the wrong direction, even before the injuries began to take their toll, so he likely wouldn’t be of much help to the National League Mets, even with his offensive production. The Mets know this, and they have been in the market to add to their outfield, pursuing All-Star outfielder Sterling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Enter this wild tweet into the fray last week:

The Tampa Bay Rays have entered the picture as a potential home for Cespedes??? I mean, at least according to this one reporter.

Is there much for the Rays to want with Cespedes?

The Rays have already added several potentially defensively challenged players that can hit with the likes of Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (who will try everything but catcher this Spring) and Jose Martinez (who may never pick up a glove) joining the fold. And even if Cespedes can field, he would join a very crowded Rays outfield.

The New York Mets may have indeed spoken to the Rays about Yoenis Cespedes, but the conversation probably went like this:

Van Wagenen: So we just had to make Beltran quit and hire a new manager in 48 hours. We are looking to make a deal to distract the public.

Neander: I’m listening

Van Wagenen: We’re thinking of an outfielder, we really want Marte from the Pirates

Neander: Can’t go wrong trading with the Pirates

Van Wagenen: They only want your prospects though, so can we send you Cespe-


If the Rays needed a right handed hitter that could play the outfield with better defense than Jose Martinez — say, as an insurance policy for Yoshi if a platoon is needed — you can squint your eyes and make this work, but when is there ever room in the Rays budget for a $6 million part time player when you also need room for a defensive outfielder on the bench like, say, the already acquired Randy Arozarena?

This was a fun thought for all of five seconds, thanks for reading, let’s move along.