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Tigers Apparently Still In On Cespedes


Last November, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus introduced us to Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. By now we’ve all watched the infamous 20 minute “Showcase” video several times too.

After three months, the unsigned Cespedes remains a bit of a mystery. He hit .333 with 33 home runs, 99 RBIs and 11 stolen bases over 90 games in Cuba during the 2010-11 season. However, the Cuban slugger also hit just .135 over 35 at-bats in a brief winter ball stint in the Dominican Republic. He hit just one home run, failed to draw a single walk and struck out 10 times. Sure, it’s a small sample size of data; it’s worth noting though.

So what’s up with Cespedes? Why hasn’t he signed yet?

After establishing residency in the Dominican Republic late last month, Cespedes has officially begun his journey to the show. Well kinda..

According to Adam Katz Cespedes’ Agent,

"Cespedes —declared a free agent by Major League Baseball on Jan. 25 — can negotiate and come to terms with a club, but cannot finalize a contract until he is “unblocked” by the Office of Foreign Assets Control.“That’s where we are right now,” Katz said. “We still need to have him unblocked in order to execute a contract and to play — that’s ongoing right now.”"

Ultimately, the goal for Cespedes is to be in a big league camp by the third week of February.

The signing of Prince Fielder likely puts the Tigers out of the race for Cespedes, right?

According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the Tigers aren’t exactly out of the running.

"Speaking about position players, Dombrowski went from the “pretty well set” comment he made at Prince Fielder’s news conference to “most likely set.”But he didn’t slam the door on the Tigers’ interest in Cespedes, who defected to the Dominican Republic and has been granted free-agent status.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."

Detroit Tigers beat writer Jason Beck also briefly chimed in yesterday,

"The Tigers remain in the running for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, by all accounts."

Im still unsure exactly where I stand on Yoenis Cespedes. He looks like he should be a solid average to above-average major league player, nothing is guaranteed though. How long will it take him to adapt? Can he handle MLB pitching? Can he overcome his struggles with breaking balls? And so on and so on…

While only time will give us the answers to all of those questions, one thing is certain, Cespedes will get paid. The 26-year-old outfielder is expected to command a four- to six-year contract between $35 and $60 million. Currently the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox and Tigers are linked to the Cuban slugger.


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