Chili Davis is very familiar with Yoenis Cespedes’ potential.
Davis, who was hired as the Boston Red Sox’s new hitting coach last week, served as the Oakland Athletics’ hitting coach from 2012 to 2014. Cespedes, of course, signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A’s before the 2012 campaign and spent parts of three seasons with Oakland before being traded to Boston this year at the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline.
“Cespy is a special player, just a very special player with a lot of talent,” Davis said during a conference call to announce his hiring. “We saw that in Oakland and I’m sure that’s why they brought him here from Cuba and put him right into the big leagues. Big game guy, loves the noise, loves the lights. I feel like we formed a relationship (in Oakland), but we weren’t quite finished building that relationship.
“From the relationship we formed, it won’t be that difficult to pick up where we left off. As far as I’m concerned, and I told him this to his face, he has greatness written all over him. He does. He does everything — he can run, throw, hit for power.”
Cespedes arrived in the majors amid a ton of hype. The Cuban defector, for the most part, has lived up to the expectations, jacking more than 20 home runs in each of his first three big league seasons. Cespedes compiled a career-high 100 RBIs in 152 games split between Boston and Oakland in 2014. He also led the majors with 16 outfield assists and earned his first All-Star selection.
“It took him a while to get comfortable in Oakland as well, but once he gets comfortable here, there’s no telling what he might put up in a season as a player,” Davis said last week. “He’s just, to me, I think he can be a great player. It’s all up to him, whether or not he wants to be there. But I think he has the ability to be a great player.”
Cespedes is entering the final year of his contract. The 29-year-old outfielder recently switched agents and became a client of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. Cespedes said at the end of the regular season he wasn’t sure whether he’ll sign a contract extension with the Red Sox or test free agency following the 2015 season, so there certainly are questions about his future.
There are no such questions about Cespedes’ all-around talent.
Photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
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