Cespedes will go to Japan and will play CF. Crisp will be in left. #Athletics
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 19, 2012
Lest that headline deceive you, Yoenis Cespedes is not going to Japan to play Japanese professional baseball, the expensive Cuban ex-pat is going to Japan to partake in the season-opening series between the Seattle Mariners and Cespedes’ Oakland A’s.
Something of a shock move considering Cespedes’ dearth of experience outside the Cuban League. Many assumed at least a brief AAA stay but it looks like, for one series at least, the A’s are really going for it with Cespedes.
The move sends Coco Crisp to left field and Josh Reddick taking over in right. This arrangement might make the A’s a formidable defensive force but the offense does not inspire great confidence. ZiPS projects an unsightly .238/.289/.391 line for Reddick while Crisp looks to replicate his decent numbers for a center fielder, usually getting on base and stealing enough bases while playing solid defense all the while.
With Cespedes taking over in center (to start the season), it brings Crisp’s value into question. Unless this is all an elaborate ruse to ensure these two games between AL West also-rans some sizzle. With only 19 spring plate appearances to his credit, it is tough to tell how well Cespedes is adjusting to Major League pitching.
The A’s clearly like what they see and, by adding Yoenis Cespedes to their Opening Day roster, are determined to figure out what he can do against stiff competition. 8000 kilometers from home. At 6am. Whatever. Good luck, Yoenis!