The offseason is only a month old and the rumors surrounding Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are flying about. Some think that he is too valuable to trade, that his power potential is too scarce to send elsewhere. Others think that Cespedes is too valuable not to trade. Either way, with one year left on his deal, Cespedes will likely be one of the marquee free agents to hit the open market following the 2015 season.
But for now, Cespedes isn't focused on his pending free agency or the trade rumors that swirl around him, especially following the team's reported agreements with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, moves that could leave Cespedes as the odd man out (Note: The interview with Cespedes was conducted before the reported signings. He couldn't be reached for comment following the moves, but rumors existed even before those acquisitions). Cespedes, who lives in Florida during the offseason, told Over the Monster via email that his focus is on preparing to be the best version of himself for the 2015 Red Sox.
"I don't really focus on those types of things," Cespedes said through a translator. "I'm training this offseason to come into spring training with the Red Sox and have my best year yet. My focus is to work hard, have a great season with my teammates and win another Championship for the fans in Boston"
At the General Manager meetings in Phoenix two weeks ago, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington addressed the rumors surrounding Cespedes.
"I understand why there's speculation out there,'' Cherington said to reporters, noting that Cespedes is a year away from free agency, "but it doesn't mean it's based in any sort of evidence. We're happy to have him.
"We felt like, as we were building a lineup for next year, adding that power element in the middle of the lineup was really important to us. Now that we have it, we're not really anxious to give it away."
Cespedes, who declined comment on whether or not he would be open to signing an extension with Boston, said that, contrary to reports, he is open to playing right field and has let the coaching staff know of his willingness.
"I'm working very hard in the offseason in order to help bring the people of Boston another Championship," Cespedes said. "I plan on putting in extra work from learning to play left field in front of the Green Monster or making the adjustment to playing right field if necessary. Regardless of the position, I just want to continue working hard in hopes of winning my first Gold Glove."
For Cespedes, the offseason started off with the news that he left agents Adam Katz and Andy Mota for Jay-Z's Roc Nation representation group. For many, this was indication enough that the 29-year-old outfielder was prepared to go to the highest bidder once he hit the open market. A clause in Cespedes' deal makes it so that he cannot be offered a qualifying offer, thus freeing himself of draft pick compensation and likely expanding the number of teams potentially interested in his services.
"I felt [hiring Roc Nation] was the best change for me," Cespedes said. "I'm grateful to my former agency and agent, they were incredibly helpful to me."
While he was surprised when he was traded from Oakland to Boston, Cespedes said that he enjoyed his first half season in Boston.
"Boston is a beautiful city. The team welcomed me and the fans were great. I really appreciate all the support," Cespedes said. "I want to wish all the Boston fans happy holidays and want to say I look forward to seeing you all next year."
Cespedes doesn't know whether or not he will be a member of the Red Sox next year. He, however, is getting prepared for the season as best as possible.
"The offseason is an opportunity to spend time with my family and to train to get better for next season," Cespedes said. "I also play a lot of golf, go fishing and I workout consistently. I enjoy my offseason routine, but I can’t wait for the 2015 season."