Chicago White Sox: Why They Should Sign Yoenis Cespedes
Apparently, Yoenis Cespedes is good. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus called the talent "arguably the best all-around player to come out of Cuba in a generation."
But your guess is as credible as mine because I've only seen YouTube videos showcasing the Cuban defector.
GMs across baseball seem to have different opinions regarding the 26-year-old talent, some saying the name is not worth the check he will inevitably cash in.
Nevertheless, somebody's going to take the risk and sign the man.
For our beloved White Sox, does his acquisition make sense for a team that is in the midst of "rebuilding"? It remains to be seen.
Despite this uncertainty, there are a multitude of reasons why his addition to Chicago would make sense. Read on to find out why.
An Extra Bat in the Lineup
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand this basic concept: The White Sox were 18th in baseball in scoring runs, averaging just over four per game.
In the hard-hitting American League, that's not going to cut it. Outside of Paul Konerko and Alexei Ramirez, the team lacked any semblance of consistent offense.
Whether it was watching Gordon Beckham swing at high heaters or Adam Dunn fish for breaking balls, the Sox offense (or lack thereof) was flat-out painful to watch.
Cespedes, although a risk himself, could provide another presence in the lineup.
He's got the power to protect Konerko and the speed to keep out of double plays. For years, the White Sox have had middle-of-the-order guys who are double-play machines. His insertion into the starting lineup could alleviate this issue.
But remember, he's not an known commodity. For all we know, he might develop Adam Dunn Syndrome.
A Dependable Center Fielder
Fact or fiction: Alex Rios is an MLB above-average center fielder? The Answer: Both fact and fiction.
Throughout Rios' time on the South Side, the former All-Star has displayed a negative, me-first attitude that has driven diehard Sox fans nuts. He still has the talent, but does he want to play hard?
Nobody really knows. Last year, he dogged it both offensively and defensively. Many a time, Rios would strike out or pop up and subsequently misread a ball in center field.
Early word is that Rios won't even be given the opportunity to play center as Robin Ventura plans to move him to left.
But do Sox fans really trust Alejandro De Aza to produce all season long as their center fielder? Kenny Williams has tried this experiment in the past with Dewayne Wise and would be unwise (no pun intended) to try it again.
If we've got the money, why not take a chance that Cespedes can be the superstar OF that the team direly needs?
A Sense of Excitement
At this juncture in time, why should White Sox fans spend the money and exert the energy of heading to the Cell to watch a rebuilding team?
They shouldn't and they probably won't unless something exciting happens.
Signing Cespedes could be that something.
He's got the reputation and the "wow" factor to draw numbers. Let's face it, the Sox need any boost in attendance numbers they can get.
Spending upwards of $60 million could be a risky move, but it definitely creates chatter.
Chatter brings fans. Fans buy tickets. Money allows Kenny Williams to make eye-opening moves.
The real question: Do Sox fans trust Kenny Williams with $60 million?
Strengthening the Cuban Connection
Over the years, the White Sox farm system has only developed a couple solid position players: Joe Crede and um...let me think about this. This is too hard.
To make up for these shortcomings, the front office has employed a strategy of trading for hitting prospects from other teams like Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko (a long, long time ago).
This structure has worked to some degree, but a successful ball club needs a strong farm.
As of late, Williams has done a decent job of getting involved in the Cuban baseball circuit luring in Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo. Could Cespedes be next?
Viciedo and Ramirez are obviously telling Yoenis how great it is to be a member of the Chicago White Sox. What Latino talent wouldn't want to play for such a storied franchise?
Nonetheless, his addition could foster a slew of more Cuban signings down the road.
Don't worry, this is just part of Kenny's master plan.
Making Chicago a Destination for Free Agents
When it comes to the Windy City, the Cubs have primary control over the city's fanbase.
People like to get drunk and make fools out of themselves at Wrigley Field. Baseball is an after-thought for this group of uneducated baseball fans. I hope I didn't alienate my audience too badly.
Nonetheless, these same drunken fans actually fill up the Friendly Confines. Evidently, hot-ticket free agents like to play in packed stadiums.
But it's a vicious cycle. In order to fill stadiums, you need big-time attractions. In order to sign big-time attractions, you need filled stadiums.
The Sox should make the initial investment and bring in the potential superstar.
Showing the Rest of the League the Organization Isn't Full of Pushovers
If I were an opposing GM and I needed to make a trade, the first person I would call is Kenny Williams.
At times, it seems as though the guy trades just to make a trade. It's frustrating as a fan knowing that you can't expect Williams to do the "right" thing.
Every Sox fan knows what I'm talking about.
While signing Cespedes to a $60 million deal might raise eyebrows, it will definitely say something about Williams.
In the midst of remodeling, a move like this would prove that Williams have cojones. While some would argue that being bold isn't necessarily Williams' problem, this signing could eliminate some of the resentment many Sox fans have towards him. Not mine, of course.
At the end of the day, the White Sox will need to assess the situation and see if they can afford to dish out another high-risk, high-reward contract.
If yes, go for gold and pencil Cespedes into CF.
If not, Alejandro De Aza it is.
All I know is, this Sox fan isn't spending money to going see De Aza and the high-powered White Sox offense take on Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and the soft-hitting Detroit Tigers.