As reported on Hardballtalk.com, highly coveted Cuba deflector Yoennis Cespedes spoke with a local Dominican reporter following his first winter game appearance yesterday.
The status of Cespedes becoming a Dominican citizen, thus able to sign for a team in MLB, has been dragged out for the entire offseason but should be finalizing soon — however, as anything when dealing with a government entity, there is currently no timetable and the process could be dragged out for a couple more months before complete.
While the legal process has been playing out, there has been plenty of speculation about where Cespedes, a speedy outfielder, will sign when available. The Tigers, among a dozen or so other teams, have been rumored to have interest. Finally, we know which teams have shown the most interest from Cespesdes himself. Cespedes told local reporter Dionisio Soldevila that the six teams with the most interest were the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Indians and yes, your Detroit Tigers. It’s interesting to see that payroll heavy mega-franchises like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are not on the list. Also surprising is seeing the frugal Cleveland Indians among the teams that popped up. While the Tigers should get a heavy run from the Marlins, if Cespedes is concerned at all about winning the Tigers are clearly in the best shape of all the teams on the list. The Marlins underwent heavy changes this offseason, the Indians are likely still a couple years away and the White Sox, Cubs and Orioles are all in full rebuild mode.
While we still don’t know where Cespedes will sign — the Marlins seem like the favorite to me — it’s seeming a little more certain that Dave Dombrowski has had heavy contact with him and, based up the lack of other deals, made Cespedes the organization’s number one offseason target.