Seattle Mariners: Will Dipoto Go After Cespedes In Free Agency?
By Riley Baker
With Yoenis Cespedes likely to become a free agent, will he be on Jerry Dipoto’s radar?
Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has reportedly decided to opt out of his 3-year, $75 million contract when free agency hits. After signing with the New York Mets last winter, he will most likely be a free agent again this offseason.
Jerry Dipoto was very active last winter making one move after another, seemingly all winter long. Could he have his eyes on Cespedes?
The Cuban outfielder gave the Mariners nothing but a tough time while he was a member of the American League. Cespedes made his major league debut against the M’s back in 2012 at the age of 26. He is now 31, and even after posting a 2.9 WAR in 2016, I’m not too sure Dipoto is coveting the All-Star leftfielder.
Dipoto has said that some of his goals are to make his 2017 team younger and more athletic. The Mariners were the fourth-oldest team in the majors last year averaging 29 years of age. Adding Cespedes to that roster would only increase that average.
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Cespedes is certainly athletic and has one of the strongest arms in baseball. However, Dipoto added plenty of athleticism to the outfield in 2016. Leonys Martin will surely be a fixture in center field moving forward. Youngsters Ben Gamel and Guillermo Heredia, who played important roles with the Mariners down the stretch, will likely stick around as well.
Perhaps the bigger indication we wont see Cespedes in a Mariners uniform is simply: budgetary reasons. With big money already dished out to other key players, another big contract wouldn’t leave room for much else.
The current 40-man roster will only lose four players as pending free agents. Contracts are up on Dae-Ho Lee, Adam Lind, Franklin Gutierrez and Drew Storen. None of these players would be devastating to lose and can be replaced through the means of smaller free agents or trade.
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Don’t expect Dipoto to be as active in free agency as he was last year. I anticipate him to make several small, yet important acquisitions over the offseason to bolster the roster. However, none of them will include Yoenis Cespedes.