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Yoenis Cespedes has now played one game of Major League Baseball. Let us over-analyze him and his performance!
In January, the Oakland Athletics re-signed free agent Coco Crisp. They told him he would play center field. In February, the Oakland Athletics signed Yoenis Cespedes. It looked like Cespedes would bump Crisp over to left, and Monday, that was made official, as it was announced that Cespedes will start for the A's in center in Japan.
Coco Crisp will deal with the change and try to be the best left fielder he can be. But as he tells Bob Nightengale, he would've made a different decision as a free agent had he known what would happen in Oakland.
Coco Crisp never would have re-signed with the Oakland Athletics, he revealed Monday, if he had known they were going to move him to left field.
"No, I wouldn't have come back here as a left fielder,'' said Crisp, who signed a two-year, $14 million free-agent contract in January. "I would have signed with Tampa."
The Rays were interested in Crisp as a center fielder, and had B.J. Upton on the trading block. But there was uncertainty over whether Upton would be moved, which led Crisp back to Oakland. He just wanted to go somewhere to play center field, and now he's not going to play center field.
Don't misinterpret this as sour grapes. Crisp seems to be dedicated to the A's, and he seems to have the right attitude about his situation. He's just being honest. Had he known he wouldn't play center in Oakland, he wouldn't have re-signed with Oakland. Now that he has re-signed with Oakland, and now that he knows he won't play center, he'll make the best of it.
In early January, the Oakland A's caught some people off guard by re-signing Coco Crisp to a two-year contract worth $14 million. It seemed like the A's were rebuilding and dedicating themselves entirely to youth, and Crisp is 32. But then, Crisp is familiar, and the A's needed a center fielder. So it was a little weird, but not nonsensical.
In the middle of February, the Oakland A's caught a lot more people off guard by signing Cuban ballplayer Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $36 million. Among the people they caught off guard was Coco Crisp, who didn't feel like he should move to accommodate Cespedes, also a center fielder. Susan Slusser:
"I'm going to make all the plays," Crisp said. "If someone feels there's someone better than me, it's hard for me to believe. Unless he's a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field."
Well, despite Crisp's words, it seemed a foregone conclusion that he'd be bumped to left. Cespedes was the bigger investment, after all, and Crisp has 216 games of major-league experience in the corner. The only question left to answer was whether Cespedes would make the A's immediately out of camp, or go to the minors for a spell. Slusser's got the news:
Cespedes will go to Japan and will play CF. Crisp will be in left. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 19, 2012
Cespedes is breaking camp with the A's, and he's going to play in center field while Crisp plays in left. It was always the most likely outcome, and now it's basically confirmed. Cespedes, mind you, hasn't torn up the Cactus League in the early going, having batted 3-for-17, but he homered in his first game and he's looked really good in practice and intrasquads. He's learning quickly, and the A's feel confident that he can learn at the big-league level.
Melvin said Crisp handled news like a pro. Melvin says he, Melvin, still believes Crisp one of best CF in league. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) March 19, 2012
The first pitcher Cespedes will face in a meaningful game will be Felix Hernandez.
Sometimes being old and not really so great can be a real drag. Just ask Coco Crisp, who isn't quite ready to be shunted to left field in favor of a hot prospect.
Yoenis Céspedes. You might first have seen him in the World Baseball Classic three years ago, or in that crazy promotional video a few months ago. And you might have guessed that he worries more about his style than his substance. But SI.com's Joe Lemire spoke to Peter Bjarkman, an expert on Cuban baseball who has met Céspedes, and Bjarkman says otherwise: "He's really a levelheaded, dedicated young ballplayer."
So that's good, anyway. But how well will Céspedes actually play? Lemire:
In an article analyzing Céspedes' major league potential, Bjarkman described the player as "a legitimate five-tool prospect" though he "has not quite met expectations against better pitching and under the pressures of international play." Bjarkman raised questions about how Céspedes will fare against major league pitching, especially in his first season, because of a tendency to be a freeswinger.
Bjarkman said the overall level of play in Cuba's top league is comparable to Double A ball in the States, but he noted that Cuba's elite players -- the top 25 to 40 or so -- are obvious major league-caliber ballplayers. Céspedes is decidedly in that group, he said, but probably more of a top-10 player than a top-5.
All of which just reinforces the position that Céspedes isn't a sure thing, any more than high draft picks are sure things. Of course he's older than draft picks so there's no need to project what he'll look like in three or four years. But with no experience in Organized Baseball, Céspedes simply doesn't have the track record you'd prefer to consult when investing $36 million in a baseball player.
It was Monday that the Oakland Athletics came out of nowhere to sign Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $36 million. I mean, I'm sure Cespedes kind of saw it coming, since he was involved and made his own decision, but most everybody else figured that Cespedes would end up with the Miami Marlins. Or if he didn't end up with the Miami Marlins, he'd end up with a bigger spender than the A's.
But he signed with the A's. The toolsy, athletic Cuban outfielder signed with the A's. And while Cespedes isn't the sort of player you imagine when you think about Moneyball (the book), Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus argues that Cespedes is a Moneyball-style addition:
Once you start hearing those superlatives, Cespedes’ price tag starts to sound more reasonable. So what if he’s never played in the States? So what if, at age 26, he’s probably already reached his physical prime? If he fulfills that potential and becomes a star, or even gets most of the way there, he’ll be more than worth the money. Sure, $9 million a year is a lot for the A’s. But it’s not all that much out in the wide world of free agent outfielders. It’s Michael Cuddyer money. Actually, it’s less than Cuddyer money—the Rockies will pay Cuddyer $10.5 million per year, only for three seasons instead of four. Considering Cespedes is over six years younger than Cuddyer, that extra year seems like a small price to pay.
That makes this a Moneyball move [...]
If you don't think that Oakland signing Yoenis Cespedes is a Moneyball move on account of his physical profile, congratulations, you are part of an embarrassingly still large group of people who have zero understanding of the point. I don't even know why those people read books. What do they get out of those books? Probably not what they're supposed to get out of those books.
The signing of Yoenis Cespedes means at least one talented A's youngster is going to end up on a bus to Triple-A in 2012.
All along, there was one question:
(1) How good is Yoenis Cespedes going to be?
Now, there are two questions:
(1) How good is Yoenis Cespedes going to be?
(2) How did Yoenis Cespedes end up signing with the Oakland Athletics, of all teams?
We still can't answer question No. 1. There will be no answering question No. 1 until we know a lot more about Cespedes than we do today. As for question No. 2, Danny Knobler investigates:
When Cespedes' agents approached the A's recently after finding a softer-than-expected market elsewhere, the A's saw opportunity. They know that signing Cespedes for $36 million over four years is a risk -- an expensive risk for a team that doesn't have any other player signed for more than $6 million this year.
But they also know that the upside is great. The scouts who like Cespedes compare his combination of power and speed to Bo Jackson.
You just don't find players like that. The A's don't find them, anyway, not in their price range.
In the end, Cespedes got a better deal from the A's than the one the Marlins offered ($36 million over six years, according to sources). But Cespedes had also told officials from other teams that he preferred not to go to Miami, because of the potential circus playing in a city with a huge Cuban exile population.
It wouldn't be right to say that Cespedes fell into Oakland's lap. There was competition, and Oakland has made a considerable commitment that could very well blow up in its face. But I'm guessing that at no point did the A's think they had what it would take until recently. Then they started getting excited.
The A's have tried to spend on a few players. Some of those players didn't want their money. Cespedes is happy to take their money and play as well as he can in exchange. If he doesn't work out, he doesn't work out, but if he does work out, then the A's got a star for less than it usually takes to get stars.
Yoenis Cespedes is a physical exam away from officially being an Oakland Athletic. That's a decision he has made on purpose. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez spoke with Cespedes to get a little insight into his thought process.
"I am super happy because it's been a dream of mine for a long time," Cespedes told MLB.com from the Dominican Republic. "To leave my country and play in the big leagues is what the goal was. My family is really happy, too. They are living their dreams through me."
"My first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season, and little by little, I'll make more goals," Cespedes said. "I've been preparing every day for this and I 100 percent believe that I am ready for the Major Leagues. I have a lot of international experience and experience at a high level. I'm very confident in my abilities."
On Monday, the 26-year-old outfielder agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract with Oakland, citing the reputation of A's general manager Billy Beane and the direction of the franchise among the reasons he chose the A's.
It didn't hurt that one of Cespedes' favorite players growing up in Cuba was former Oakland shortstop Miguel Tejada.
If we want to be cynical, we can say that Cespedes probably signed with the A's because the A's offered the best combination of money and proximity to free agency. He'll get the $36 million he would've gotten from the Marlins, but this way he'll hit free agency in four years, not six. I'm sure that was a big factor. But I like to think that Cespedes is genuinely excited - not just about playing, but about playing for the A's in particular. I like to think that that can happen, because the A's can be kind of depressing, and I don't want baseball to be depressing.
Do you think Cespedes was influenced in any way by Moneyball? In any way at all? He must've been, right? At least just a little bit?
Monday, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes shocked the fraction of the world that knew about Yoenis Cespedes by agreeing to terms with the Oakland Athletics. That's the Oakland Athletics instead of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins said they would be "aggressive to the point of stupidity" when it came to getting Cespedes signed. They lost him, to the Oakland Athletics. If it was weird before that all of a sudden the Marlins were big spenders, consider that the big -spending Marlins were just out-spent by the A's. And the Yankees and Red Sox are trying to practice fiscal restraint. Weird times. The world might not end in 2012, but it seems the world as we knew it is indeed long gone.
Let's get back to Cespedes. At ESPN, Christina Kahrl presents "Things to ask about Yoenis Cespedes." There are a lot of things you could ask about Yoenis Cespedes. What is his favorite color? What is his second-favorite color? What was the color of his childhood bedroom? But Kahrl narrows it down to three:
1. Why go to Oakland?
2. What does this deal say about his value?
3. Is Cespedes all that?
Click through for responses and commentary. A glimpse:
So, what did the Athletics get for their $36 million? That’s the question we don’t have the answer for, but as gambles go, you can understand why the A’s did it. It’s a bet Cespedes will provide premium outfield defense wherever they put him -- all the better to help a young pitching staff. And if Billy Beane wants to swing another deal, having Cespedes gives him the flexibility to shop Crisp.
I do have a few issues. For one, Kahrl seems to imply that Crisp's defense is only valuable in center, and not in a corner. For two, the Marlins reportedly offered Cespedes $36 million, just like the A's did, only for more years. And for three, I'm skeptical of translated Cuban statistics, just like I'm skeptical of minor league equivalencies. Cespedes is a scouting grab, not a numbers grab.
But overall, the point is the point: surprise! Risk! A's! Maybe! If Cespedes pans out, the A's will look sharp and they'll reap the rewards. If Cespedes doesn't pan out, at least the A's tried. They've committed the money to the highly sought-after talent. Now it's up to the talent.
Remember this? That was November. Last November. For a time last November, this was Oakland's outfield depth chart:
Heavy on the Ryan Sweeney. Maybe the A's thought he could do it. Maybe that was a cry for help.
It's February now. Ryan Sweeney is gone. Guess he couldn't do it. Over the offseason, the A's brought in a Corolla's-worth of outfielders. And on Monday, they brought in another, jumping out of the closet to sign Yoenis Cespedes for four years and $36 million.
What the A's have now is an outfield surplus. This was addressed by Steve Slowinski at FanGraphs:
[...] but by signing Cespedes, the A’s seem to be showing little faith in Cowgill, Taylor, and Reddick — two of whom they acquired this off-season in trades.
It may be that the A’s didn’t anticipate Cespedes being available for such a good deal, so they adjusted their off-season strategy on the fly and decided he was worth the investment. There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s always good to add talent if it comes at a reasonable price and fits in the budget. But the A’s are now stocked to overflowing with outfield talent, and I’m not sure how they can make it all fit without trading some away over the next year or so.
This isn't an argument against Cespedes. If the A's think Cespedes is worth it, the A's think Cespedes is worth it. They'll deal with the outfield surplus when it becomes a more pressing concern. I can't imagine Billy Beane is afraid of confronting a situation in which he might have to swing one or two trades.
Of course, the big issue is: is Cespedes going to be worth it? Slowinski states that "the A’s only need him to be an average major-league player (2.0 WAR/year) for this to be a market-value deal." That's based on the whole of the free agent contracts handed out. But one figures that the A's hope for more free agent contract efficiency than the average team, so they shouldn't be held to the same standard. If the average free agent costs $4.5 million per win above replacement, well, for the A's, maybe that should be $3.5 million, or $2.5 million, or maybe even less than that. Basically, I do not think the A's would be pleased if Cespedes turned out to be a league-average player. They're hoping for more than that, and based on the contract, I'd assume that they're expecting more than that.
The A's stunned the baseball world by committing four years and $36 million to Cuban mystery man Yoenis Cespedes.
According to reliable sources, the Oakland Athletics have swooped in to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million contract.
Yoenis Cespedes was a hot topic at some point. So was Yu Darvish. But they're yesterday's news! Who will be the hot topic for a month in 2015?
There existed a rumor, not even that long ago, that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes didn't want to play for the Miami Marlins. Read that again. There was a rumor that a talented baseball player out of Cuba didn't want to play for an improving and suddenly spendthrift team in Miami. A team that had said publicly that it would be "aggressive to the point of stupidity" when it came to trying to lure the Cuban.
Yeah, that rumor never really made any sense, unless Yoenis Cespedes is some kind of baseball hipster. Based on this picture, from Juan C. Rodriguez, we can say with a high degree of certainty that Yoenis Cespedes is not any kind of hipster.
That's Cespedes arriving at the Miami airport. In Miami, he's going to meet with the Marlins. And according to this report, also from Juan C. Rodriguez, the Marlins are - unsurprisingly - believed to be the favorites to sign the outfielder:
Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to land in Miami Tuesday afternoon. According to an American League source from a club that's been monitoring his free agency, the Marlins likely will be his future employer.
Other teams with interest are thought to be the Tigers, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles and A's, and maybe one of them comes up with the winning bid in the end, but the Marlins almost look inevitable. The fit is so perfect, and signing Cespedes would give the Marlins one more high-priced splash to end the offseason.
Cespedes intends to make a decision in time to play in spring training. He's currently free to negotiate, or I should say the agency that represents him is currently free to negotiate, although Cespedes can't actually play until he's cleared by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Because Yoenis Cespedes is a foreign asset. They're all just assets. Assets who play a game for our amusement until they are replaced with superior assets.
I'm going to level with you. I started writing this update because I saw a Rotoworld tweet reading:
Tigers confirm interest in OF Yoenis Cespedes
"Very interesting!" I thought. Then I went to the source. This is the source. From the source:
The Tigers might not be Cespedes' most likely destination at this point, but Dombrowski said "it's correct to say" the Tigers haven't declared themselves out of it.
Rotoworld's tweet said that the Tigers confirmed that they're interested. The Tigers actually confirmed that they're not not interested. Those sound like the same thing but they are not the same thing. In one version, Dave Dombrowski says "yes, we are interested in Yoenis Cespedes." In the other version, Dave Dombrowski says "no, we have not completely ruled ourselves out on Yoenis Cespedes." Do you see how the message is different?
Of course, after the Tigers swooped in to sign Prince Fielder, one can't really predict what they might do next. But the fact of the matter is that the Tigers did commit a lot of money to Fielder, and the fact of the matter is that Cespedes will have other suitors, including the Marlins, who have publicly acknowledged that they're thinking about Cespedes when they're making love with their partners. Cespedes will probably not end up in Detroit. But, hey, we've confirmed that the odds of that happening are not zero percent. All right.
Look, I don't want to be a zealot about this, but I can't believe that we're still writing about where Yoenis Cespedes is going. First, the news, from Ken Rosenthal:
Sources: Cespedes likely to visit #Marlins in Miami within the next week. #Cubs, others remain deeply involved.
There's a city with the biggest population of first- and second-generation Cubans in the country. In this city, there's a team that's frantically spending money to build attention and goodwill as they enter a new ballpark. This team has a hole in center field. On the market is a Cuban superstar who plays center field. Let's not think this through too hard.
But there is a catch: Maybe the Marlins' baseball people just aren't crazy about Cespedes. Maybe they're concerned that he'll need some AAA time, or maybe they're concerned that he'll never hit in the majors. Maybe they're convinced he can't play center.
Those would all be some good baseball reasons, so it's not a sure thing. But I'd wager there's a heavy push from the marketing department on this one. If Cespedes becomes a star for the Marlins in their new ballpark, that could change how the franchise is viewed by a fan base that's too used to fire sales.
Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent. Fantastic! And fantastically exciting for the Miami Marlins, who recently volunteered the information that they would be "aggressive right to the point of stupidity" when it came to trying to sign him. Now the Marlins can try to sign him!
Oh, but wait, what's that? There are whispers that Cespedes doesn't want to play for the Marlins? That doesn't really make any sense, but okay, I guess that's new information we have to keep in mind. Maybe he'll go somewhere else. Maybe he'll go to the Cubs.
Well actually now you can forget about that last paragraph. From Joe Frisaro:
Hearing Cespedes has no issues against playing for #Marlins
It's hearsay against hearsay, but the hearsay from Frisaro seems more legitimate since you'd think if anything Miami would be a more appealing potential destination for a player like Cespedes. People can have their own reasons for things, and none of us has any idea how Cespedes truly feels, but it would be...weird if he had something against playing for the Marlins. He probably doesn't.
The bidding war will begin. We know that the Marlins will make an aggressive push. We don't know if anybody else will match or exceed their aggressiveness. Throughout the proceedings I'm sure Twitter will remain calm and composed.
Tuesday night, we heard from sources that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had officially been declared a free agent. Earlier Wednesday, we heard from sources that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had not officially been declared a free agent. Now - still on Wednesday - we hear that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has officially been declared a free agent.
Jesse Sanchez, again:
Let the games begin. Yoenis Cespedes is officially a free agent.
So what happens next? Bidding happens next. Cespedes isn't playing anywhere, having batted 5-for-35 in winter ball with ten strikeouts and zero walks. Interested teams will be working with very limited information, including numbers in the Dominican, numbers in Cuba, and a couple scouting videos. But that's precisely what makes him so compelling. We don't know that much about him, which allows imaginations to run wild. He could be great! He could be a superstar! He could be bad, but he could be a superstar! Look at that YouTube video!
Not long ago, it was reported that the Marlins, Tigers and Cubs had the most interest in signing Cespedes. Since then, the Tigers have committed $214 million to somebody else, and there's been a little talk that Cespedes doesn't want to play in Miami. I don't know if that second thing makes any sense. Stay tuned. There's one more offseason bidding war yet to play out. Two, maybe, depending on Edwin Jackson. Jackson's represented by Scott Boras, and I've learned something about assuming that Boras doesn't have the upper hand.
Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has gotten his Dominican residency. The next step is for him to be officially declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. Tuesday, there were reports that Cespedes had been declared a free agent by Major League Baseball. Haha, jokes! That's totally not true.
#Cespedes is not a FA (yet). He's been granted temporary residency & issued national ID card by Dominican government.
This doesn't really matter that much. So Cespedes isn't a free agent now. He'll be a free agent soon. Very soon. Maybe tonight. I don't know. There's no expectation that he's going to hit some stumbling block and be declared unavailable forever. Before long, there will be teams bidding for Yoenis Cespedes.
But there are no teams bidding for Yoenis Cespedes at the moment, meaning this is just getting drawn out longer and longer. Of course, I think the Prince Fielder sweepstakes taught us all a little lesson about the value of patience.
Interestingly, Danny Knobler adds:
Teams are waiting for the OK to start bidding on Cespedes. There's still a feeling that Cespedes really doesn't want to go to Marlins.
The Marlins have been very open about their interest in Cespedes. Alarmingly open. Groin-grabbingly open. The interest might not be mutual. I don't know where that's coming from, and I don't know if it's true or if Cespedes' mind would be changed by a pile of money, but there you go. I'm a messenger, not an interpreter.
Earlier Tuesday, we learned that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had been granted residency in the Dominican Republic. From there, all that was left was for Major League Baseball to declare Cespedes an official free agent. At that point, the bidding would be able to begin.
Well, here's Dionisio Soldevila. Dionisio Soldevila has something very interesting to say:
Yoenis Cespedes is officially a free agent. Has finally received his Dominican residency permit. MLB teams asked him to stop playing in DR
Later on, he said this was coming from Cespedes' agent. It stands to reason that Yoenis Cespedes' agent would have a pretty good idea of what's going on with Yoenis Cespedes.
Right now, nothing is official. We don't know for absolute certain whether teams can start throwing money in Cespedes' direction. But it might be true, and if it isn't true now, it should be true before very long.
It's interesting that, according to Soldevila, teams asked that Cespedes stop playing winter ball. It's possible that they didn't want him to get hurt. It's also possible that they didn't want to watch him keep sucking.
All right, we've knocked down the Prince Fielder domino. Roy Oswalt seems like he's about to topple. You never know when Edwin Jackson might up and put pen on paper. This offseason is winding to a close, as teams prepare for spring training. There's just that one guy - remember that one guy? The Cuban? Yeah, Yoenis Cespedes. We're still waiting on him. And, as of Tuesday, he's one step closer to free agency.
Cuban outfield prospect Yoenis Cespedes has established his residency in the Dominican Republic and is now waiting for approval from Major League Baseball to be declared a free agent, his representative Edgar Mercedes said.
It's close. The moment that Cespedes becomes a free agent is almost agonizingly close. This moment was probably supposed to come ages ago, but Cespedes is allegedly the sort of talent for which teams will have patience.
The other day, it was said that the Tigers, Marlins and Cubs were Cespedes' hottest suitors. That was before the Tigers committed $214 million to a big beast of a man more sure to hit dingers. So I don't know if the Tigers are in or out. They're probably in to a lesser degree than they were. That's me speculating, but I've also been doing this long enough to kind of have some idea how things work, so I'm not just pulling things out of my ass.
In limited action in the Dominican winter league playoffs, Cespedes batted 5-for-35 with a homer, zero walks, and ten strikeouts. I'm guessing he is better than those numbers. The question is how much better.
It's January 23. Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes still isn't an official free agent, even though it feels like we've been waiting for ages. Any time now. Any time now.
Cespedes will become a free agent at some point. Then the bidding will begin. Who will be in on the bidding? Ken Rosenthal indicates three teams appear to have the most interest:
It's hardly a surprising list. The Marlins have already said that they'll be "aggressive right to the point of stupidity" on Cespedes. Cepedes himself has told the media that the Cubs are making a push. The Tigers have been linked for some time. These probably aren't the only three teams who are monitoring Cespedes, but they're apparently the three teams that like him the most.
For a little while, Cespedes has been playing in the Dominican winter league. According to the best numbers I can find, he's so far gone 5-for-35 with a homer, zero walks and ten strikeouts. For the sake of reference, this is a league in which Pedro Feliz has 14 walks and 22 strikeouts. Cespedes might just be a little bit raw. We'll see if that has any effect on his price.
Who is most likely to sign Yoenis Cespedes? And who wants to see Yoenis Cespedes hitting a dinger?
As we've talked about, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is nearly a free agent. Once he is a free agent, the bidding war will begin. We've long figured that the Miami Marlins would figure prominently in said bidding war. David Samson didn't exactly downplay the idea.
From the Sun Sentinel:
"Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there," said Samson, characterizing the club’s planned pursuit. "We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great."
"Aggressive right to the point of stupidity" is just such a perfect way to describe the Marlins' entire approach to the offseason. So of course that'll carry over to the Cespedes sweepstakes. There's no guarantee that the Marlins will sign Cespedes, of course, but they'll try their damnedest, and these aren't your grandpappy's Marlins anymore. These Marlins are...aggressive right to the point of stupidity. Man that's perfect.
Yoenis Cespedes blew up thanks to some YouTube footage that allowed him to show off his broad array of skills and strengths. Based on that footage, a number of people have tried to predict the kind of player he could turn out to be.
Clay Davenport also tries to predict the kind of player he could turn out to be. But Davenport doesn't rely on the Cespedes video; Davenport relies on Cespedes' stats.
A selection from kind of a dense article:
So yes, the overall projection is for good power, low BA and OBA, and a good CF, with an overall EQA in the .260-.270 range. Per the EqA report, the average EqA for major league center fielders last year was .269.
Davenport also arrives at what he thinks is a pretty solid player comp for Cespedes: Adam Jones. Pointing at one player comp based on numbers posted in Cuba has extraordinarily limited value, but maybe that'll help to keep peoples' imaginations in check. Sure, Cespedes could turn out to be anything. He could be a superstar! Or he could be a disappointment. Or he could be Adam Jones, who is kind of in between.
Cuban stats are Cuban stats. The level of play in Cuba is nowhere close to the level of play in the major leagues, so we can only do so much with the numbers. But Davenport's investigation is one to read. It offers something new, on what's become an old topic.
It's the middle of January. Yoenis Cespedes is still out there! So Prince Fielder and Edwin Jackson aren't alone. Sometime soon - and I know we've heard this before - Cespedes will gain Dominican residency. He will also become a free agent. Then he will sign with a team. That should happen before spring training.
In the meantime, what is Cespedes up to? An answer:
According to Kevin Cabral of ESPN Radio Dominicana, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has joined Aguilas Cibaeñas in the Dominican Winter League.
So he's not just sitting around eating potato chips. I'm not sure how much playing time Cespedes stands to get, and I'm guessing the answer is "not a whole lot", but it's probably not the worst idea in the world for Cespedes to try to shake off a little offseason rust and show scouts what he can do in competitive games before he signs a contract. Cespedes, at this point, is a big giant mystery - some game action could make him a little less mysterious.
Once Cespedes is available, there'll be a lot of interest. The Yankees, the Marlins, the Nationals, some others... Cespedes will not be lacking for suitors.
Prince Fielder is still out there as a free agent. He is, without question, the best available free agent. While there's no indication that he's close to signing a contract, that could all happen very quickly if someone comes in with a willingness to spend.
If Fielder were to sign soon, would that mean the end of the big free agent spending? Thankfully(?), no. There's still Edwin Jackson. There are still other guys. And there's still Yoenis Cespedes.
Remember Yoenis Cespedes? He was a huge deal, not too long ago. But before he could become a free agent, he had to take care of some legal things, which put the rumor mill on pause. Cespedes' current status? He's close to gaining Dominican residency. Once he does that, he can petition MLB to become a free agent. Once he does that, teams will be free to bid.
And they will bid. The Marlins should be involved. Several other teams should be involved, possibly including the Yankees and Red Sox. Early on there was talk that Cespedes might want $60 million, but according to Frisaro:
A couple of months ago, it was believed Cespedes was seeking an eight-year deal worth more than $60 million. Several teams have backed away from that number, and a source said Cespedes’ cost appears to be coming down.
More realistic numbers are four years in the $32 million range, the source said.
Cespedes is 26, and has the potential to be a power-hitting center fielder. He also has the potential to be a non-power-hitting DH, or mediocre busboy. Here's to taking chances!
Monday was Yu Darvish day. Darvish's negotiation rights became the property of the Texas Rangers. It was a big deal. People cried.
But now Darvish is going to disappear from the news for a few weeks as he and the Rangers are unlikely to reach a contract agreement until the end of the 30-day negotiating window. Which means it's time to think about the other big international name again. That name being Yoenis Cespedes. Or Yoennis Cespedes, depending on whom you ask. But we're going with Yoenis here.
What's the deal with the Cuban? Any day now, he'll be granted residency in the Dominican Republic. Once that happens, it'll take another 10-15 days before he's cleared by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control. Once that happens, the bidding can begin. And the bidding should be heavy.
Who'll be in on the bidding? We know about the Marlins' interest. We know about the Tigers' interest. We know that the Nationals, Cubs and Orioles have shown some interest. But here's Kevin Goldstein:
As part of the Darvish piece, I've talked to a lot of int'l folks. General consensus is that the #Yankees are BIG on Yoenis Cespedes.
That might not mean much on its own, but the Yankees have had a remarkably quiet offseason to date, and Cespedes could be their splash. God knows they have the money.
Come January, we could see the Yankees and the Marlins get into a heated bidding war against one another. Welcome to the new reality.
There's a new video -- the second in what seems to be an ongoing series -- of videos featuring Cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes, an outfielder in line for a big MLB contract when finally given the chance to sign. And Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein's got a review for us.
One of the great unknowns on the free-agent market is Yoenis Cespedes, a five-tool talent that has scouts drooling, and who could be the next Matt Kemp or Wily Mo Pena.
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