PHOENIX -- The arrival of Chris Young has given the A's a multitude of riches in the outfield, but there are problems, too, at least from the vantage point of Yoenis Cespedes.
Manager Bob Melvin is talking about using his projected four-man outfield -- Josh Reddick and Coco Crisp in addition to Cespedes and Young -- in an informal rotation of sorts with the odd man out serving as the designated hitter.
Cespedes does not want to be the D.H. Not never, mind you, but only when he needs a day off from playing the field for health or injury reasons. Other than that, the center fielder-turned-left fielder wants to be left in left.
"As a player, to be the D.H., I don't like it too much,'' Cespedes said through interpreter Ariel Prieto on Sunday morning before the club's first full workout. "If I'm hurt, that's the only way I like it, to pick up some days as the D.H.''
As problems go, this one is relatively small. With the power and RBI potential in Cespedes' bat, the manager is going to do what he can to make sure his left fielder is happy and in left. If that means only using him to D.H. for matters of health or when it's time for a rest, so be it.
Six months ago, Cespedes' problems were of a more primal nature. He'd defected from Cuba to sign a four-year, $36 million contract with the A's that called for, among other things, a $5 million signing bonus.
Unknowingly, he'd become a target. In the second half of his rookie season, even as the A's were pushing for an eventual American League West title, Cespedes wound up in an off-the-field drama involving a former agent and the safety of his family.
Agent Edgar Mercedes reportedly is trying to get a 17 percent cut of the contract, almost double the standard 10 percent. And Cespedes had concerns over the safety of his mother and extended family members who were in the Dominican Republic while Cespedes was in Oakland last year.
His mother has found safety in relocating to the Turks and Caicos Islands, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and there are lawyers in place to deal with the claims by Mercedes, who helped get Cespedes settled in the Dominican after leaving Cuba.
What's left is baseball and his first full spring training. Last year, he didn't get settled until March.
"It weighed on my mind sometimes, yes,'' Cespedes said, looking back at last year. "I tried to be focused every single day and not let it be a problem and keep me from playing baseball hard. I'm thankful this all was possible because that was a distraction for me, but not too much.
"I tried to put that to the side and not take it with me to the field.''
Melvin said Cespedes kept him in the loop throughout and said the outfielder's ability to play through all the worry was as impressive as anything he did as a rookie, which included a .292 average, 23 homers and 82 RBIs in a season impacted by left-hand and left-hamstring injuries midseason and a bone bruise on the bottom of his right foot that he carried right through the playoffs.
"He always went hard; he always found a way,'' Melvin said. "He found a way to play.''
And that was true whether he was in center, in left or, dare we say it, the D.H. He wound up starting 46 games in center, mostly in the first half of the year, and 56 games in left field, mostly in the second half of the season. He also had 26 starts as a D.H.
He had his best batting (.320) and slugging (.592) percentages while serving as the D.H. His best on-base percentage (.382) came as the left fielder, the position he has coming into spring training.
"Left field, right field, it doesn't matter,'' Cespedes said. "I'll be the catcher or the shortstop, even pitch.''
Clearly being on the field is a priority, maybe the priority, for Cespedes.
Melvin said he loves the attitude, but he begs Cespedes' forbearance because there will probably be more games as the D.H. for him than the left fielder would like.
"I appreciate that he feels that way; we want all of our players to feel like that,'' Melvin said. "If I can rest him and not give him a full day off and keep him healthy, I will.''
That doesn't sound like much of a problem. And that's the way Cespedes wants it.
Billy Beane, Bob Melvin keep searching for right formula for A's success.