On Friday, the Oakland Athletics and New York Mets began a three-game series at Citi Field in New York.
Prior to the game, Yoenis Cespedes told the San Francisco Chronicle that he’d like to finish his career as a member of the Oakland Athletics.
It was an innocent enough comment, at least at first. The A’s did give the Cuban slugger his chance at playing in the majors when he signed with them as an international free agent in 2012.
In his first two seasons with the Athletics, there was no minor league time for the already-experienced Cespedes, who made his big league debut on March 28, 2012. Cespedes hit .265/.324/.472 with a .796 on-base plus slugging percentage and 66 total home runs during his time with the Athletics.
He also proved, on multiple occasions, that he has one of the strongest arms in the major leagues. The left fielder made some incredible plays for the A’s from his position. That said, he isn’t always the best fielder, but it never really mattered, not with that arm.
After making the All-Star team for the first time in July, 2014, the Oakland Athletics were in first place in the American League West. In fact, they had the best record in the majors by a number of games and were a favorite to win the American League Championship and play in the World Series.
— Brodie Brazil (@BrodieNBCS) July 21, 2017
The team started to collapse in the second half both offensively and defensively. A’s then-general manager Billy Beane decided that more pitching might be the answer to the A’s woes.
On July 31, 2014, both A’s and Boston Red Sox fans awoke to some shocking news. Yoenis Cespedes, a fan favorite and staple in the A’s lineup, had been traded to the Boston Red Sox for one of their star starting pitchers, Jon Lester.
From there he spent the rest of 2014 with Boston and moved on to spend the first half of 2015 with the Detroit Tigers before being traded to the Mets at the trade deadline for Luis Cessa and future 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Michael Fulmer.
Cespedes found a home in New York and went on a home run hitting tear, eventually leading the Mets to the World Series where they were defeated by the 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals.
He’s now in his third season with the Mets and manager Terry Collins. So it was a bit awkward when Cespedes gave his interview with the San Francisco Chronicle Friday.
It was a very rare interview coming from the left fielder conducted solely in English. Cespedes usually uses a translator. Perhaps, he was so excited to finally be facing his former team in interleague play that he spoke without thinking, leaving the Mets fans on Twitter irked and the A’s fans smiling.
Cespedes the Chronicle that he’d spoken to former A’s teammate and current Mets’ teammate Jerry Blevins about one day going back to where his career began.
“I wish that happens. I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.”
Cespedes went on to make things a bit more awkward when he told the paper about his great relationship with A’s manager Bob Melvin, something he’d apparently not kept a secret from his Mets’ teammates.
“I tell my guys here all the time that he’s the best manager for me so far. I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin.”
It’s assumed that the statement was not meant to be a dig at current manager Terry Collins, but it was taken that way by many on Twitter nonetheless.
Cespedes also said that he still loved the Athletics for giving him “an opportunity.”
“I love Oakland all the time.”
It wouldn’t be impossible for the 30-year-old to play with the Oakland Athletics at least in one final season. Many athletes, including Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, return to their original team for the final year of their career.
Even with the A’s current youth movement (or rebuild), every team needs a veteran presence in the clubhouse. Perhaps Cespedes can be that veteran one day for the Oakland Athletics.
One thing is for sure, some people may leave their hearts in San Francisco, but apparently Yoenis Cespedes left his in Oakland.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]