The Red Sox wanted Yoenis Cespedes because he's pretty good at that whole baseball thing. He has a power bat -- a rarity in today's game -- a tremendous arm, and while his career on-base percentage is a little worse than average, his overall offensive profile makes up for it. These are all reasons why, now that the Sox have Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval signed, Cespedes is appealing to a number of other teams. One of those is the offense-starved Mariners, whom FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reports have had trade discussions with the Red Sox about.
The Mariners have also talked to the Dodgers about Matt Kemp and the Braves about Justin Upton, so the Sox aren't alone in this, but they have as good a shot as anyone. Kemp is the only one of the bunch signed long-term, as he's under contract for another five years for $107 million. Upton is a free agent at year's end like Cespedes, but is set to make $14.5 million: the Mariners grumbled last year that money is a bit tight after signing Robinso Cano for eternity, so it's possible Cespedes' $10.5 million is more palatable.
The good news for the Red Sox is that the Mariners are not only lacking offense and desperate for a bat like Cespedes', but that they're also flush with pitching. Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are talented young arms with loads of team control left, but the Mariners might not want to move them: they want to go for it while Cano and Felix Hernandez are in their peaks and Kyle Seager is entering his, but it might not be worth putting all their eggs in the 2015 basket. With that in mind, maybe Hisashi Iwakuma is the one to move. He's the team's second-best pitcher, but he's also only under contract through 2015. He's making $7 million, so taking on Cespedes would only add $3.5 million to the payroll -- and if the Sox are already going over the luxury tax in 2015, they might even be willing to cover that tab to compel the Mariners to move Iwakuma.
Cespedes by himself might not be enough, but if the Sox can also sweeten the deal by adding a mid-level prospect or two to the mix -- the Sox are drowning in mid-level prospects and there are only so many 40-man spots, you know -- maybe there's a discussion to be had here. This isn't just idle November daydreaming, by the way: the Sox have had an interest in Iwakuma before, and if the Mariners are calling about Cespedes, they likely have an interest again.