Another media source has thrown the name of Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes onto the hot stove heading into the offseason.
Of course, the only real reason Renck would have thought Cespedes might be available from the A’s is because ESPN.com’s Buster Olney threw out the Home Run Derby champion’s name in purely speculative fashion in August, that’s why.
Olney’s rationale makes sense, though. A’s general manager Billy Beane has a history of looking to move players two years or more from free agency and Cespedes is eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season.
His trade value will be as high as it might ever be. He’s only 27 years old and while his injury history might scare some potential suitors, he’s a relative bargain at $21 million over the next two years and would be one of the most attractive power bats on the market were Beane to shop him.
Cespedes has 104 extra-base hits in his first two seasons in the majors and has been a big piece in the middle of the order for a team that has back-to-back division titles.
So why would Colorado make sense? With Todd Helton retiring, Michael Cuddyer is likely to move from the outfield to first base on a regular basis in 2014. Carlos Gonzalez can play right field more than capably, which opens up left field for a new acquisition.
Second baseman Josh Rutledge of the Rockies would fill a need in Oakland, as well. Rutledge has 15 home runs in 605 plate appearances over the last two seasons while filling in for the oft-injured Troy Tulowitzki and he’s just 24 years old.
Rutledge was a third-round pick of the Rockies out of the University of Alabama in 2010 and rocketed through the organization, hitting .348 at High-A Modesto in 2011, .306 at Double-A Tulsa in 2012 and .371 in 162 plate appearances for Triple-A Colorado Springs last season.
The Rockies also have some strong young arms in their organization that could sweeten a potential Cespedes deal, names such as Jonathan Gray, Eddie Butler and Tyler Anderson.
Gray is a 21-year-old right-hander who struck out 51 batters in 37.1 innings over nine starts after being drafted in June.
Butler, 22, leaped from low Class A to Double-A this season and had a 1.80 ERA overall in 28 starts and 149.2 innings.
Anderson, a 23-year-old lefty, improved his control (27 walks in 89.2 innings at two levels in 2013) and allowed only 71 hits and a 2.81 ERA in 16 starts.
Am I saying Billy Beane has to trade Cespedes? Of course not. But for the right package of talent, it could make a lot of sense for Oakland to sell high.