Yoenis Cespedes Contract Extension Not Yet Priority For Boston Red Sox

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Yoenis CespedesBOSTON — Yoenis Cespedes is under contract with the Red Sox for $10.5 million next season, which is all that matters right now.

Cespedes, who was acquired in the trade deadline deal that sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics, produced well offensively upon joining the Red Sox. The 28-year-old outfielder is set to become a free agent after next season, but Boston is more focused at this point on 2015 than a potential contract extension.

“We’ve really enjoyed having him here in the time that he’s been here. He does a lot of things on the field and he seems to have fit into the clubhouse pretty quickly,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Monday at Fenway Park. “He does sort of provide an element in the middle of the lineup, a confident hitter with men on base and all those things that you see that we can use. It’s just a conversation I think we’ll have at the right time. There’s no specific date we’re planning on having that, but so far we think the relationship is off to a good start.”

Cespedes hit .269 with five homers, 33 RBIs and a .296 on-base percentage in 51 games with the Red Sox. He finished the season with a .260 average, 22 homers, 100 RBIs and a .301 on-base percentage in 152 games split between Boston and Oakland. Cespedes certainly added a new dynamic to the Red Sox’s sputtering offense, but it’s far too early to determine whether the Cuban slugger has a future in Boston beyond 2015, especially given that his price tag could be high based on his rare power.

“I think we sort of look at the baseline of him being on the team next year as a very good thing,” Cherington said. “Anything on top of that would be good if it makes sense for everyone. We just like having him on the team next year, so there’s nothing conditional on it. We look forward to having him in the lineup next year.”

Cespedes said over the weekend he isn’t sure whether he’ll explore a contract extension with the Red Sox or test free agency. Boston, in theory, could trade Cespedes before next offseason, but he’s clearly an asset for a team looking to return to contention after a disappointing year.

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