White Sox failed to sign All-Star slugger last offseason. With the report of him opting out of contract with Mets, White Sox must pursue slugger aggressively this offseason.
The Chicago White Sox need to make a splash this upcoming offseason. There’s no better way for the team to do this than to sign Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes will reportedly opt-out of the remaining two years of his current contract with the New York Mets.
The 31-year old slugger played this season with the Mets and hit .280 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI’s. Although the Mets could work out another contract with Cespedes, they might not be able to with its current roster. The Mets have a crowded outfield and they’re also expected to retain Jay Bruce. If Cespedes does indeed sign with another team, the Mets could get draft pick compensation as they will most likely give the native Cuban a qualifying offer.
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Last offseason, the Sox were rumored to be close to signing Cespedes, but he ultimately signed a three year, $75 million contract to return to New York. Cespedes’ contract included an opt-out clause after one year, and he most likely will opt out.
Cespedes could command a lengthy contract, and the Sox should most certainly oblige. The time is now for this franchise to become relevant again, and Cespedes will fill a hole for this Sox team. The Sox need more power in its lineup, and Cespedes can certainly provide that. This season, the Sox hit 168 home runs as a team which was 22nd in MLB. By adding Cespedes to the lineup for next season, the Sox could surpass 200 home runs as a team.
Another area Cespedes could help the Sox is fielding. Although Cespedes was a poor center fielder for the Mets this season, he was much better in left field. His defensive runs saved in center field was -17, while in left field his DRS was 8. Cespedes DRS in left field was 30 in 2015, but his DRS of 8 this season is much better than Melky Cabrera’s defensive value. Cabrera had a DRS of -5 for the Sox in left field this season. If the Sox were to actually sign Cespedes, they could move Cabrera to designated hitter.
The negative aspect of signing Cespedes outside of money is losing a first round draft pick. The Sox are currently set up with the 12th pick in next year’s draft. With a minor league system slowly improving after a solid draft this year, losing a first round pick could stall progress for the Sox farm system. However, Cespedes could be worth the risk if the team intends on contending in 2017. The pieces are there for the Sox to compete, but they need to add more quality players and depth to its roster.
Jerry Reinsdorf can’t allow Cespedes to sign with another team again this offseason. The Sox will have to decide if they’re going to push for contention next season or sell in the upcoming weeks. If the Sox intend on contending, the best choice to make is signing Cespedes. This fanbase needs something to get excited about for 2017, especially with the team’s 2005 World Championship run being conveniently forgotten about by the media.
There’s no better time for the Sox to make a big splash in free agency than now. Reinsdorf has to be motivated to build a winner after watching the Cubs reach its first World Series since 1945. Unfortunately for Sox fans, we know Reinsdorf isn’t going to stretch his wallet. It’s not like Cespedes has ever put a team on his back and carried them to the postseason before. That’s right, he actually did do that before.