BOSTON - Yoenis Cespedes was just as surprised as you were when he heard he had been traded to the Red Sox.
Of course, he had to wake up first. Cespedes was asleep when the news broke. Less than 36 hours later he was in Boston wearing a No. 52 Red Sox jersey.
"I feel very happy to be here, to be able to share a part of my career with the Red Sox with such a legendary team," Cespedes said through a translator. "When I was in Cuba I didn't have this opportunity. In Cuba, I obviously wasn't able to watch too many Red Sox games, or any major league games, but the legend of Fenway Park precedes itself, and I'm very excited to be here."
Of course, it's not the most exciting of times to be a member of the Red Sox. Cespedes is here because the team traded away its best pitcher [and second-best pitcher] due to the fact it was out of playoff contention. Oakland, on the other hand, is a legitimate World Series contender. That said, the Sox aren't in a rebuilding phase. They're looking to compete this season, and contend next season. Cespedes is keeping the right attitude.
Cespedes' flight arrived in Boston late in the afternoon Friday and wasn't in the starting lineup against the Yankees at Fenway.
"Oakland in the past three years has turned itself into a winning team," Cespedes said, "the same way Boston was. I've become accustomed to playing winning baseball and I think we can achieve the same thing with this team. It's no secret to anybody that this is a great team and it's evident in the amount of World Series they've won here in Boston."
Cespedes should have no problem fitting in with the Sox. Prior to speaking with the media, he met with Sox legend and fellow Cuban Luis Tiant in the team's clubhouse. Cespedes could also be seen standing next to David Ortiz in the Red Sox dugout during Friday night's game. It won't be a surprise to see Cespedes latch on to Ortiz as he gets accustomed to Boston.
"I feel very fortunate to have David Ortiz as a teammate," he said. "Most of all I think I'll gain a lot of valuable experience from being a teammate of his. I think, as teammates, we'll be able to do a lot of great things here."