What would you do if you went from having little more than the clothes on your back to a fortune virtually overnight? If you’re like us, you’d probably buy a few nice cars to fill the driveway of your new mansion. We’ve taken a look at the rides of famous athletes in the past, but many of them — we’re looking at you Floyd Mayweather — have pretty predictable taste in cars, namely fast, flashy, and expensive.
Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes has the expected expensive tastes when it comes to cars, but let’s just say his garage is a little more interesting than your average celebrity fare. With spring training kicking off for 2016, Cespedes made headlines by driving a different car to the Mets’ Port St. Lucie training facility every day, each one flashier than the rest.
But Cespedes is no stranger to headlines. Take for instance the time he won the 2013 All-Star Home Run Derby without being an all-star, then made the team in 2014, and won it again. Then there’s his habit of throwing runners out at home from deep in left field. With tons of power and a monster arm, Cespedes has become one of the most exciting players in baseball, and after four teams in as many seasons (the A’s, Tigers, Red Sox, and Mets), it looks like he’s settling in New York for a while, having just signed a three-year $75 million contract with the Mets.
But things weren’t always this way; in 2010, Cespedes defected from Cuba, escaping to the Dominican Republic in a speedboat with 10 other family members. He never owned a car in Cuba; they were too expensive. “Being in Cuba, I never thought I was going to be here in the United States,” he recently told the New York Post. “After I got here, I saw the possibility that I can have whatever I want, so I worked really hard for it.”
So for Yoenis Cespedes, being a gearhead comes naturally. Here’s a look at those five cars he wowed Mets fans with this week.
1. Ford F-250
Cespedes is one of the growing number of athletes who buy and customize their cars through Florida shop The Auto Firm, owned by Alex Vega. Last Sunday, he pulled up to Mets camp in a custom Ford F-250. With the SuperCrew cab, the F-250 starts at just under $36K, though we doubt Cespedes went for the work-spec model. On top of the truck’s base price, The Auto Firm reportedly did about $30,000 of custom work too, including a lift kit, beefier wheels, a custom exhaust, and massive stereo.
2. Polaris Slingshot
Cespedes has quite the fondness for the Slingshot, a three-wheeled reverse trike from Polaris, of ATV and snowmobile fame. Though it’s legally a motorcycle, it’s wide front track, bucket seats, steering wheel, and 2.4-liter GM-sourced four cylinder suggest otherwise. Weighing in at just over 1,700 pounds, the Slingshot lives up to its name, hitting 60 miles per hour in the mid-four second range and topping out at 130 — all without a windshield or doors. Cespedes drove his red and gray one to camp on Tuesday, and his black and blue one on Saturday. With The Auto Firm’s customizations, the Slingshots (with their mid-$20K base price) cost the slugger about $70,000 apiece.
3. Lamborghini Aventador
For some guys, no car says “I’ve made it” quite like the Aventador, and Cespedes’s custom black and blue car is the centerpiece of his collection. From Major League Baseball’s blog: “This is the big one. Vega stripped this car ‘to the bare bone,’ repainting it a custom black color with blue metallic accents. The interior, wheels and Audison sound system are all custom as well, but the highlight here is the exhaust system: an Avorza model that ‘spits fire.'”
The Aventador starts at around $400K, and The Auto Firm’s custom touches added another $80K to the price tag. Cespedes isn’t precious about it though; he lent the car out to a Mets staffer to run errands.
4. Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Now here’s where Cespedes’s true gearhead colors shine through. Alfa Romeo’s first true venture back into the U.S. market came in 2008-’10, when it imported just 55 8C Competizione Coupés (and 35 Spyders). Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful looking (and sounding) cars of the 2000s, Cespedes has barely touched his Alfa, short of the custom rims. That’s probably for the best, especially since the ultra-rare coupe is worth north of $250K today. Like the Lambo, he’s pretty generous with his 8C — it’s spent most of the month loaned out to infielder Wilmer Flores.
5. Jeep Wrangler
Despite all the quarter-million dollar metal Cespedes flashed this week, he says his favorite is his custom $80,000 Jeep Wrangler. “That’s the first jeep I’ve driven and it’s like a space ship,” he told The New York Post after arriving at camp on Friday with Alex Vega. With a custom leather interior, upgraded suspension, and massive wheels, it still looks pretty capable, though we doubt the slugger takes it off-road much.
Cespedes closed out the week in his second Slingshot, rounding out his impressive six-car collection, estimated value: $1 million. And despite his appetite for cars, Vega says he’s easily beaten by Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval. We kind of hope Pablo’s game for upping the ante a little; this is the most excitement coming out of spring training until preseason games start.