Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets bats against the Atlanta Braves during Opening Day at Citi Field on July 24, 2020 in New York City. Cespedes has decided not to play in the Serie Nacional in 2024. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Former Major League Baseball outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will not return to Cuba to play with the Alazanes de Granma in the 2024 Serie Nacional regular season, Francys Romero of beisbolfr.com reported on Sunday.
Pelota Cubana USA reported on December 27 that Cespedes would play with the Alazanes de Granma in the 2024 Serie Nacional season.
Cespedes, 38, was born in Campechuela, Cuba, and has not played in Serie Nacional since the 2010-11 winter league season.
In eight seasons with the Alazanes de Granma in Serie Nacional from 2003-11, Cespedes played in 701 games with a lifetime average of .316 over 3,195 plate appearances, with 861 hits, 158 doubles, 26 triples, 169 home runs, 557 RBI, 55 stolen bases, 314 walks, 395 strikeouts, and a .988 OPS before he left the island.
Cespedes has played in Major League Baseball with the Oakland Athletics from 2012-14, the Boston Red Sox in 2014, the Detroit Tigers in 2015, and the New York Mets from 2015-18 and in 2020.
During his eight seasons in MLB, Cespedes has played in 834 games, batting .273 with 870 hits, 173 doubles, 24 triples, 24 triples, 165 home runs, 528 RBI, 43 stolen bases, 240 walks, 742 strikeouts, and a .824 OPS. He has not appeared in Major League Baseball since playing eight games with the New York Mets in 2020.
According to Marcos Guillen of ActualidadCuba.com, “Marcos Naranjo, provincial baseball commissioner in Granma, stated that Céspedes would not be able to join the training from the beginning due to professional commitments abroad, so he is expected to join later to Serie Nacional.” Guillen’s report was translated from Spanish.
Cespedes was on the preliminary roster for the Alazanes de Granma before he decided not to play in the 2024 Serie Nacional season. He has not publicly stated if he is playing a full season in another professional league for 2024.
Cespedes has not drawn interest to play in the Serie Nacional for 2024 despite playing for the Cuban National national team last March at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Last winter league season, Cespedes played with Aguilas Cibaenas in LIDOM and batted .167/.239/.406 in 18 games with 12 hits in 64 at-bats, driving in 11 runs and smacking four homers.
During the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Cespedes played in two games in left field, walked twice and did not record a hit during the tournament. Cuba made it to the semifinals of the 2023 WBC in Miami at loanDepot Park and lost to the United States 14-2.
The 2024 Serie Nacional season will begin its third year of operation as a spring-summer league by the Federacion Cubana de Beisbol. Opening day is scheduled March 9. No official schedule has yet been announced by the FCB for the 2024 season.
Training camp for Serie Nacional teams will start on Jan. 9. Players that are playing in the 2024 Elite League playoffs will be excused from reporting to Serie Nacional camp with their teams on Jan. 9.