Yoenis Cespedes showcased himself in front of eleven different teams. One of those teams was the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cespedes is 35 years old and has played in just 46 games since 2018. Yet the Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays, Rays, White Sox, Tigers, Braves, Marlins, Padres, Reds, and Cubs joined the Brewers to scout the former All-Star. Why?
In 2015 and 2016, Cespedes was one of the best players in the game. Over that two year period, Cespedes slashed .287/.341/.539 while posting a 136 wRC+ and crushing 66 home runs. His hard hit stats were elite in those years as well. Here is a look at 2016.
He was also once a plus defender in the outfield, especially if you kept him out of center field. In 2015 he had 16 DRS from left field for instance. And most of us know, his arm is legendary.
Again, he has barely played since 2017, and even in that season, he logged just 321 plate appearances across 81 games. Yet he was very good in those 81 games (132 wRC+). He was also good the 38 games he played in 2018 (121 wRC+). Remember he has a career 124 wRC+. He was a hitter to be feared.
An elite athlete with reputed prodigious strength, Cespedes has struggled mightily with injuries. Injuries to his legs and rehab setbacks cost him half of the 2017 season. Then there was the infamous wild boar incident. He was injured on his ranch when he stepped into a hole after an interaction with a wild boar. That along with bone calcification surgery in both heels kept him out of most of 2018 and all of 2019. He decided to opt out of the 2020 season after just eight games.
A lot of time has passed since Cespedes has put up big numbers, and even more time has passed since he played on the field everyday. However he was a true offensive presence for the Mets and A’s. Plus there is a wow factor with Cespedes. He WAS an electrifying player.
The front brass of the eleven teams that showed up for his showcase are looking for signs that this once elite player and athlete has something left in the tank. If he showed that he does in his showcase, he becomes an attractive option.
He becomes attractive not only for his talent, but his price tag too, because it is apt to be reasonable. Not being on the field has hurt his earning potential in a big way. If he gets beyond a one year deal for more than a few million, it would be a surprise.
David Stearns and Company would be very attracted to a player that can still bring above average ability for reasonable value. One other item to think about, Brewers’ executives and scouts could be assessing not only his ability in conjunction with his price tag, but also his motivation to redeem some of his reputation. A motivated Yoenis Cespedes with even 80% of his previous ability for a reasonable price could be a really nice addition to the Milwaukee lineup. Then again...dependability is a big deal.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Savant