The New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Chicago White Sox are rumored to be the most serious contenders for heavy-hitting outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but could the San Diego Padres enter the mix?
San Diego now has a major offensive void in left field after Justin Upton decided to sign with the Detroit Tigers in free agency this week.
They currently have Jon Jay (acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason), who is a terrific defender but has only once in his career driven in 50 or more runs in a season, and prospect Alex Dickerson, who has only appeared in 11 major-league games.
Jabari Blash, whom the Padres acquired in the Rule 5 draft, is technically also an option, but he has yet to accrue any major-league experience.
Although the Padres’ payroll is currently around $100 million, they have said they are willing to increase it to as much as $120 million if necessary, and the addition of Cespedes would be an apt fulfilment of that hypothetical.
Cespedes has been an offensive machine since making his major-league debut with the Oakland A’s in 2012.
In his four MLB seasons, the Cuban left fielder has averaged 30 home runs and 103 RBI per 162 games with a .271/.319/.486 split.
He displayed the immense impact he can have on a team with a spectacular second-half performance upon being acquired by the New York Mets at the trade deadline last season, which helped boost the Mets to their first postseason berth in nine years.
The NL West is bound to be more competitive with the Arizona Diamondbacks beefing up their rotation in addition to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants poised to be contenders for the division crown once again.
If the Padres are serious about winning the division in 2016, the acquisition of a dynamic player like Cespedes could help.
Nonetheless, San Diego’s interest in Cespedes might not be very serious.
The Union-Tribune adds in its report that "a match appears unlikely" between the Padres and Cespedes; however, the fact that Cespedes isn’t tied to draft-pick compensation, as Upton was, "could factor into the potential appeal for San Diego."
If the Padres truly want to contend in 2016, there is no shortage of appeal for signing Cespedes.