Sometimes scouring the internet really pays off, and today I found a gem of an article by Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus on Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. It is definitely worth the read, Goldstein’s comments are fantastic and absolutely hilarious, but there is a YouTube video at the bottom that is a 20 minute testament to the greatness of Yoenis as well that is fantastic to watch. You see more of Yoenis working out more than anything, but it is so different than any scouting video I have ever seen, I actually sat through the whole video.
So what did I see? What I saw is an athletic freak in the mold of Bo Jackson, but what I didn’t see might be more important, and that is a guy playing a lot of baseball.
Given that Major League Baseball has declared Cespedes a free agent, I thought I would take a look at if he is a possibility for the Tigers.
Now, it is being reported that Cespedes is looking for a contract in the neighborhood of fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman. For those that don’t know, that would be in the neighborhood of 30M dollars. While that certainly isn’t chump change, major league teams are already expressing interest, and more than likely won’t be deterred by such a price tag. Your usual suspects like the Yankees are already sniffing around, but even the Florida Marlins as well. With the Cuban population in Miami, Cespedes makes a lot of sense for the Marlins, and they could be strong bidders.
Cespedes’ calling card is clearly his physical ability. The guy is built like a brick s**thouse, Lou Ferrigno has nothing on this guy, and he can run as well. The few swings that we actually get to see look like they are rather compact, and you can see he has power to all fields. In fact, Cespedes tied the Cuban record for home runs in a season with 33 in just 90 games. His prowess in Cuba however, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is going to be success in MLB. While fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman clearly has a fantastic arm, I’m not sure you could say he has earned his 30M dollars. Still, teams love guys with tools, and it looks like Cespedes has them in full.
I suspect that the interest in Yoenis will continue to grow, as does the legend of his super YouTube video, and soon we might even see the price tag on him go up. David Dombrowski doesn’t typically seem to be interested in getting into these types of bidding wars for players, otherwise, I would have already talked more about Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish as a free agency possibility. It would be a change in philosophy to see the Tigers get involved in a bidding war for a player Darvish or Cespedes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they shouldn’t.
There is also the question of whether or not the Tigers even feel like Cespedes is a fit, given that their current CF is only 25 years old. I’m not exactly sure that Austin Jackson is the center fielder of the future though, and the Tigers shouldn’t shy away if the feel like they could upgrade.
I am sure that Dombrowski and company will do their due diligence on Cespedes, and try and find as much information as possible. If they like him, I am sure they will put some feelers out to gauge his interest in the Tigers. If not, they probably won’t waste the time. He looks like a hot dog in his video, catching several baseballs behind his back, and posing after home runs. Like Goldstein in the article, I would have actually liked to see more baseball things, like throwing a guy out, or running from first to third. But man, watching that dude jump on top of something that is almost 4 feet tall, several times in a row was impressive.
I just don’t know what that means in baseball terms.