Are the Astros players in the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes?
Among the available free agents still on the market, Yoenis Cespedes is near the top – if not holding down the No. 1 spot.
The flashy outfielder still hasn’t found his new employer and is the subject of Hot Stove rumors on a daily basis.
On Sunday, baseball writer Peter Gammons inserted a new team into the ongoing rumor mill surrounding Cespedes: the Houston Astros.
Thrice today I had execs say "watch the Astros on Cespedes." 5th best HR park in MLB in '15. Good lineup. OK, I'm watching
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) January 17, 2016
Yes, the Astros – who already have under contract for 2016 a slew of capable outfielders, including Carlos Gomez, Colby Rasmus, George Springer, Preston Tucker, Jake Marisnick and Evan Gattis (if/when he isn’t the team’s DH).
Cespedes split his 2015 season with the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets, hitting .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs, 105 RBI and a WAR of 6.3 while playing out the final year of the four-year deal he originally signed with the Oakland Athletics.
Earlier this offseason the Astros were said to be interested in Alex Gordon before he wound up re-signing with the Kansas City Royals.
Within this context, the thought of Cespedes being on their radar is particularly intriguing. If the Astros won the bidding for his services, that would presumably mean someone else was being traded.
In that scenario, it would make the most sense for the Astros to deal Gomez somewhere else, rather than trade away a dynamic young talent such as Springer. Gomez is in the final year of his contract and will earn $9 million, whereas Springer is an emerging star and won’t be eligible for arbitration for the first time until 2017.
Of course, this is all speculative at this point…but the fact that Gammons passed along this information is noteworthy in itself.