Boston Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is hoping the Oakland Athletics, the very same team that traded him, will end up winning the World Series.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is hoping his former team, the Oakland Athletics, win the 2014 World Series.
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This is what Cespedes told MLB.com's Jane Lee on Aug. 18:
"'I thought there was a good chance I'd be traded, but I thought it would happen sometime next year, maybe June of July,' Cespedes said through interpreter Adrian Lorenzo. 'But I definitely didn't expect it at this point,'
"Nobody did. That's what increased the magnitude of this trade, a rare swap of Major League stars: Cespedes for lefty ace John Lester...
"...'My intitial reaction was that I almost wanted to cry,' Cespedes said. 'I didn't end up crying, but as the day progressed and I started to think about it a little more, I thought of the saying, 'God knows why things happened,' and this is probably for the best.'
"Cespedes' mother, Estela Milanes Salazar, who defected from Cuba with him, did cry. She has since taken solace in the fact her son will be closer to their home in South Florida, and she's been with Cespedes in Boston since his arrival. She also keeps up with the A's -- 'My mom follows them pretty closely and lets me know what's going on,' said Cespedes -- while learning to love the Red Sox.
"In February, Cespedes let it be known that he hoped to sign an extension with the A's. Though talks of tacking on additional years to his four-year, $36 million deal never went far, it was always his hope to remain in Oakland. Realistically speaking, the A's were likely to deal him this offseason.
"'Oakland being the team that gave me my first opportunity in the Major Leagues,' Cespedes said. 'I obviously liked the idea of being able to start with a team and finish my career with that team, but that's not the way it worked out, so here we are.
"'We had been making the playoffs since 2012 and had been getting incrementally better since then. With the new additions of Samardzija and Hammel, our chances improved even more, so it would've been nice to see if we could get out of the first round of the playoffs. I'm not going to come out and say,'We were going to win the World Series with me,' but I can say that every player on that team has done everything they can to get there this year...'
"...That's very much what Cespedes wants for his former teammates. This he made clear when requesting to send this message to them: 'It was a true and sincere honor to have started my career with the Oakland A's, and I wish the players, the coaching staff, the front office, nothing but the best of luck moving forward and in the postseason, and I hope you win it all. I want you to know it was a great pleasure to play there, and I just want to say thank you to everybody over there.'
"Cespedes will miss 'everything' about Oakland, he says, 'from the guys in the clubhouse to the coaching staff to the fans, who always treated me extraordinarily, to the friends I made there,' and counts the final day of the 2012 season, when the Cinderella A's claimed the American League West title, as his favorite memory in green and gold.
"'I don't hold any hard feelings or resentment toward them,' Cespedes said. 'Apart from the game being fun, it's also a business, and I understand that side of it, so I don't harbor any negative feelings toward them. On the contrary, I wish them nothing but the best. I hope that they keep fighting, and I hope they win the World Series.'"
Boston.com's Chad Finn then ponders on Cespedes staying with the Red Sox long-term:
"Then there is Cespedes. He's arguably the most interesting player on the roster right now, a thrill-an-inning amalgam of extraordinary tools, obvious joy, dramatic flair, and maddening flaws. Other than David Ortiz, he's the only player in the lineup who makes you stop what you're doing and pay attention when he's in the batter's box. He also has a .297 OPS this season, which means 70 percent of those must-see at-bats are wholly unfulfilling.
"As talented as he is, I remain a bit puzzled as to why the Red Sox brought him here with just one full year left on his deal. Because of his contract status, he has little appeal in a trade for a bigger star.
"Are they just taking a look-see before letting him hit free agency -- that seems unlikely considering they gave up Lester to get him -- or do they intend to sign him long term?
"And for all of his entertainment value -- he takes the mightiest right-handed rip by a Red Sox hitter since Manny -- is he someone they should sign long-term?
"We've got 38 games left to gather some intelligence on that."
Finn predicts Cespedes will eventually sign a four-year contract extension during the 2015 MLB season and win the "Home Run Derby every year until he retires."
The 28-year-old Cespedes in his third MLB season and has 69 home runs, 241 RBIs on a career .260 batting average in 380 career regular-season games through Aug. 19, per ESPN stats.
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