PHOENIX -- While Ben Cherington mentioned only David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia as “untouchables” on the team’s roster, the Red Sox general manager all but said Tuesday that he won’t be trading outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, despite considerable speculation he was on the block.
“I understand why there’s speculation out there,’’ Cherington said, noting that Cespedes is a year away from free agency, “but it doesn't mean it’s based in any sort of evidence. We’re happy to have him.
“We felt like, as we were building a lineup for next year, adding that power element in the middle of the lineup was really important to us. Now that we have it, we’re not really anxious to give it away.
“We believe he’s very important to the team in 2015, and 2015 is really important to us.’’
Cespedes finished the season with 22 home runs and 100 RBIs in 152 games, including five home runs in 51 games after the Sox acquired him at the trading deadline from Oakland for Jon Lester. Only two other Sox outfielders hit as many as five home runs in 2014: Jonny Gomes, with six, and Mookie Betts with five. Only four other outfielders in the American League hit more than 22 home runs: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Adam Jones and J.D. Martinez.
Cespedes also had 36 doubles and six triples. His 64 extra-base hits ranked 16th in the majors and were more than any Red Sox player (David Ortiz had 62).
“That power element was missing from our lineup, as you know, for the better part of the season,’’ Cherington said. “It’s harder than ever to find power. We don’t want to go into next season without a power element in the middle of our lineup aside from David [Ortiz]. That’s part of the reason we pursued him in the first place.’’
Cherington said the Sox have plenty of time to figure out how their outfield will align in 2015. Despite indicating that they planned on Cespedes playing right field, the Sox kept Cespedes in left field, where he was playing in Oakland. Cherington said a move to right field still is possible.
Cherington said he has yet to broach the subject of a contract extension with Cespedes’ agent, Brodie Van Wagenen. Cespedes recently switched to being represented by Live Roc Nation.
“We have a good relationship with Yoenis,’’ Cherington said. “He had a good experience. He’s someone we like. We’ll have an opportunity to talk about that.’’