Cespedes: Cubs Are Leading Suitors

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes says the Cubs are his most serious suitor, according to Dionisio Soldevila of the Associated Press (link via DiarioLibre.com). The free agent outfielder isn’t yet a free agent, but he’s playing Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic and MLB teams continue eyeing him. 

"Of all the teams who have come, the Chicago Cubs have been most interested in me," Cespedes said.

Last week Cespedes said the six teams with "more interest" in signing him were the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians. The Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays and Rangers also have some interest in Cespedes, but the Nationals aren’t involved. Marlins president David Samson recently acknowledged that his team intends to make an aggressive run at Cespedes, who is represented by Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group.


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90 Comments on "Cespedes: Cubs Are Leading Suitors"


3 years 7 months ago

Time to step it up, Tigers!

3 years 7 months ago

Tigers don’t neccesarily have to do something because of the weak division, but with Victor Martinez out, I think a spot just opened up for Cespedes.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 7 months ago

I still think the Tigers are the favorites for the division, but that isn’t the goal here. It’s making a deep playoff run, and they will have a tough time doing that without replacing at least some of Vmart’s production.

wrestlingcritic
3 years 7 months ago

There was a source a few months back that said Dombrowski’s anticipated Cespedes’ free agency for a few years. That, coupled with the sudden extra need for offense and a good base and potential for winning makes them the favorites in my book.

jb226
3 years 7 months ago

Why?  Do you think Cespedes is ready to step in as a major league run producer?  I’m sure part of his performance so far in the Dominican Republic has been nerves (though I’m not sure that will get a lot better in the Majors), but he’s not looking ready to me right now.

If that’s the case, I don’t see how V-Mart’s injury has a positive effect on the situation.  In fact it might hurt the chances; if they need to replace his production, that’s going to cost some money, money which otherwise could be used for Cespedes.

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

Extremely well-reasoned.

I can’t blame people for taking the tack that if a hole opens up on their team, the best solution might be to go for the biggest or most coveted name, but it’s not always a match.

thebigbangdito
3 years 7 months ago

 maybe he is smarter than everyone thinks.. and is going to use the cubs as leverage against another team such as marlins  O_O

btw.. im partly joking

3 years 7 months ago

He wouldn’t make his family swim to Chicago. 

thebigbangdito
3 years 7 months ago

lol thats messed up

Mikey Roederer
3 years 7 months ago

That isn’t even funny man

3 years 7 months ago

Yes, it is.  It’s hilarious.  Enjoy humor, you’ll live longer.

3 years 7 months ago

would prefer soler over cespedes, but meh

Rashomon
3 years 7 months ago

Are Soler’s video production skills higher?

Cubs27
3 years 7 months ago

Hopefully the Cubs get him and deal Soriano right away.  Even if he is a bust, he’s still a cheaper, younger, and better outfielder with probably the same results at worst.

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

Well, except getting him means giving him the $60-80 million he wants AND eating Soriano’s contract (and losing his production) to fit Cespedes into the lineup. If you trade Soriano to play Cespedes, Cespedes is essentially costing his contract AND Soriano’s, though I fully expect Soriano to get moved at come point regardless.

baseball52
3 years 7 months ago

No he isn’t. Soriano’s deal is a sunk cost. It’s an unavoidable expenditure.

Too Many Idiots
3 years 7 months ago

Sunk cost is still a cost. You don’t get to wipe it off the books.

baseball52
3 years 7 months ago

I’m not stating that. But stating that Soriano’s $ should be lumped with the cost of Cespedes is economically incorrect.

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

Wrong. If you remove Soriano’s production, but not the contract, to add Cespedes’ production AND cost, you’re saying Cespedes is so much better than Soriano that it’s a worthwhile endeavor to eat Soriano’s money to play Cespedes, essentially making him the cost of both players.

Now, it’s not quite that simple. For one, Soriano would bring a prospect or two back. Also, Soriano’s also not worth all of his money. I’d say about $10-12 million of his contract is a true sunk cost.

Soriano is probably a 1.5-2 WAR player. That would mean he’s roughly a $6-8 million player, in my eyes (I see that $5 million/win figure FanGraphs uses to be on the high side; I’ll say $4 million ot make it a bit more reasonable). So, take that from his $19 million salary, and it’s really $11-13 million/year that is a sunk cost.

We’ll take the low end and say Cespedes gets $8 million/year, though we’ve seen him projected in the $10-12 million range at times. So, the question is…is Cespedes worth $14-16 million in his prime? That’s very well possible, but not a sure thing.

michael hughes
3 years 7 months ago

Oh boy, we have a bit of a misunderstanding of how these things work here. I’ll try to break this down into manageable parts.

First, a sunk cost is defined as, “A cost that has already been incurred and can not be recovered”. The Soriano contract is a sunk cost, meaning that no matter what happens in the future the Cubs will have to pay out that contract. 

Second, Soriano’s production continues to decline, dramatically, in fact, and as an aging outfielder it would be expected that that decline will continue rather than reverse. At this point Soriano looks to be a 2 WAR or lower player. 

Now there is a big misconception about WAR. If I say a player is a 2 WAR player I don’t mean that they are 2 wins better than average. Actually what would constitute a “league average” position player is a player who is worth 2 WAR. This means AT BEST Soriano is a league average player. 

If Soriano is league average then trading him will certainly not net any useful prospects and will likely provide only very minimal salary relief.

If the Cubs want to become a better club and there is a player out there who can contribute more than Soriano, as long as they have the money to sign that player, they should not factor in Soriano’s contract in their decision making.

Remember that sunk costs cannot be recovered, so sign the player or don’t, you still pay Soriano’s contract. Once you have signed the other player the only factor in playing Soriano or the other player should be who provides better production on the field. 

There is no reason to think that any other player needs to outperform Soriano’s contract plus their own to start over Soriano. The only thing that matters is wether they out preform Soriano.

3 years 7 months ago

Still not quite correct, because Cespedes is only worth the marginal improvement over Soriano as far as the Cubs are concerned. This is what cubs223425 was getting at when he/she pointed out that only part of Soriano’s contract should be considered “sunk.” So when calculating the value of Cespedes to the Cubs, it absolutely matters who Cespedes is replacing.

I think that 2WAR is an optimistic estimate for Soriano, mostly because his UZR scores don’t pass the eye test, and also because anyone who watches him struggle against an outside silder expect his decline to continue. He will be in the weak side of a platoon shortly, if not this season. So I’d put him at around 1WAR (still above replacement–don’t confuse league average with replacement level; there’s a lot of value in a league average player…about $8million to be exact). Cespedes might develop into a 3WAR player, but that’s making a bunch of assumptions about how his Cuban League performance will translate to the MLB. I’d conservatively estimate that he will average 2WAR during the three years left on Soriano’s contract since he’d likely start in the minors.

So the marginal value of Cespedes is 1WAR to the Cubs, and they should only pay him about $4 per year. Caveat: I know this assumes that Soriano’s decline sort of plateau’s at around 1WAR. Given his pop and his arm, I think that 1WAR is about his floor as long as he can still catch up to a good fastball, which hasn’t seemed to be a problem so far.

Wash_Williams
3 years 7 months ago

I get your reasoning, but to me Alfonso Soriano is still a sunk cost. 

Soriano’s value to the Cubs is pretty close to $0.  He’s not particularly well-liked by the fans who would probably be more interested in seeing Cespedes, he’s not seen as a particularly good clubhouse guy, and the 1.5 WAR he can put up (maybe) for the next two years are useless.

Signing Cespedes is not going to prevent them from pursuing other talent during that time.  The fact that it’s largely pointless to pursue talent for the 2012-2013 seasons because the team is lousy is what stops them.  In other words, the Cubs for the next two years have more money than there is available useful talent.

Therefore, to me the only relevant question is whether Cespedes is good value for his contract in 2014 or more likely 2015.  If it were me, I’d actually be tempted to FRONTLOAD his contract.  That way you are overpaying him when you have nothing better to do with the cash anyway, and then you have the cash available when you need it.

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

Soriano is a sunk cost ONLY in the sense that he’s getting paid regardless. HOWEVER, he (for lack of a better term) “true sunk cost,” is only the money he’s not worth, relatvie to his production.

Eating his money guts that production from the team without saving that money. Now ,if they can move the money tied into his 2 WAR or so, then it’s a different story. I’m not sure they can move that entire $8-10 million, more like $5 million or so.

My thing is, they are eating money to play Cespedes over Soriano. That’s where Soriano’s contract ties into that of Cespedes. It’s not to say Cespedes needs to be worth his cost AND Soriano’s, I’m jsut saying they are throwing away value to fit Cespedes in with this scenario of trading Soriano so he can play.

Wash_Williams
3 years 7 months ago

I get your equation.  His salary is a sunk cost for the reasons you stated.  What you are looking at is Soriano’s benefit to the Cubs, which is variable depending on how much and how well he plays.

Soriano’s value is his benefit minus his cost.  This is the return on investment (or what you call “true sunk cost”).  Your point is that the Cubs should still seek to maximize return on investment even though they can’t control the cost.  It makes sense, in theory.

But what I am saying is that there is not a constant figure for how much a win is worth.  To a pennant contending team it might be worth a lot.  To a lousy team, it’s worth nothing.  Maybe even less than nothing if it moves them down in the draft.

And the Cubs are a lousy team.  They should not care whether they win 58 or 60 games.  Therefore, the extra win or so Soriano might get them is meaningless.

So to me, it makes no difference whether Soriano plays or is benched.  He provides no benefit either way.  He’s no longer part of their master plan to win the WS and therefore, he’s worth nothing to the Cubs other than what he might fetch in a trade.  It is fair then, to view his entire salary as a sunk cost.

michael hughes
3 years 7 months ago

You’re correct. When people say a player’s WAR is worth a certain dollar amount it doesn’t mean that playing that well will generate that amount of money for the team so Soriano’s WAR will not recoup costs. When people assign monetary value to WAR they just mean the baseball teams are willing to pay about that amount of money for a win above replacement on the market.

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

I agree, but I’d also say Cespedes is their worst option for a FA target by that same logic.

They have OF talent–Soriano, Byrd, and DeJesus are above-average MLB players. Jackson and Szczur are OFs, and maybe their top-2 prospects (depending on where you slot Rizzo and Baez). Campana’s an all right player.

More importantly, OF is probably the easiest position to fill. The defensive demands in LF are probably the weakest of any position, and RF is the same, except needing a good arm.

Cespedes is also the worst person for the Cubs in this situation. They’re FINALLY getting some financial stability, in terms of moving the horrid contracts they’ve had. On top of that, he’s the least-proven FA out there; I’d say Japan’s talent surpasses that of Cuba’s.

Because of this, the Cubs are looking at getting a guy to fill a hole that doesn’t necessarily need filled, and that’s after passing on Darvish and Fielder. This will depend greatly on the cost of Cespedes, though.

If we’re looking at the high-end for his cost, in that 8/$80 million range, then this is a foolish spending of money. Cespedes isn’t proven in the American baseball system, like Darvish, but he’s also not even played against a talent pool as good as that of Japan, IMO. To make HIM the exception for psending would befuddle me.

If we see him signed for more like $6-8 million/ on a shorter deal, I have less of an issue. That, or I’d be OK with a fronloaded deal (since their payroll in the short-term will probably be the lowest). Giving him a backloaded deal averaging $10-12 million/year would be really dumb.

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

you’re complaining your favorite team that sucks REALLY wants to sign a young stud outfielder who a lot of bright clubs want as well? and would also replace an aging guy who undoubtedly will have absolutely nothing to do with the next championship this franchise wins?

dude, they’re not paying anyone else on this team. consider it what we paid milton bradley last year, except a GOOD idea.

michael hughes
3 years 7 months ago

I feel like this sentence is odd, “The free agent outfielder isn’t yet a free agent…” sort of a contradiction.

nymets4581
3 years 7 months ago

The 25 year old isn’t yet 25

Ur right

rootman1010
3 years 7 months ago

So maybe a potenial mid-season lineup:

1. Castro SS
2. DeJesus RF
3. Byrd CF
4. Rizzo 1B
5. Cespedes LF
6. Stewart 3B
7. Soto C
8. Barney 2B

I know the Cubs aren’t going to be true contenders this season, but that’s not a horrible rebuilding lineup with a couple pieces of the future contributing.

BillB325
3 years 7 months ago

Try:
Castro SS
Barney 2B
Rizzo 1B
Cespedes LF
Jackson CF
Soto C
Stewart 3B
DeJesus RF

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

DeJesus isn’t batting 8th. He and Castro should be 1-2, whichever first. I agree on moving Byrd for Jackson, though.

scott brecht
3 years 7 months ago

i would be surprised to see rizzo before sept.  no need to start his service time until at least next year.  cespedes sounds like he might need some time in aaa also.  

rootman1010
3 years 7 months ago

So maybe a better idea is:

1. Castro SS
2. DeJesus RF
3. Jackson CF
4. Cespedes LF
5. Rizzo 1B
6. Soto C
7. Stewart 3B
8. Barney 2B

Obviously this involves moving Soriano, signing Cespedes and promoting Rizzo and Jackson, but I don’t think it’s too far-fetched. I think DeJesus will be batting 1st or 2nd unless he really struggles. They paid him a good amount of money so I think they see him as a true contributor. I’m not sure what their long-term plan is at second base.

esteban_none_a_loaiza
3 years 7 months ago

You have 2 players without a game between them at the mlb level batting 3/4

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

Castro and Barney need to swap places on D and I doubt Rizzo will be ready, then again they have nothing to lose they might as well play the young guys all season. They are seemingly out of contention already for this season so what better what to get their young prospects big league experience.

3 years 7 months ago

Deal soriano already

wnglr40
3 years 7 months ago

Unless we get a prospect or two back in return, it makes absolutely zero sense to pay Soriano to play for someone else…please keep in mind that he led the team in HRs last year

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

Carlos Pena led the Cubs in HR last year. Soriano tied with Ramirez for 2nd.

wnglr40
3 years 7 months ago

my bad, sourbob, but I don’t think this oversight changes my view on this subject….what do you think?

sourbob
3 years 7 months ago

The question is: is it better to pay $18MM for Alfonso Soriano to be our 1 WAR LF; or is it better for us to pay $15MM for him to be somebody else’s 1 WAR player, then spend some more money to acquire and develop a younger player in the OF who might be part of our longterm plans? 

I think, for a rebuilding team, the latter, obviously, is better. HOWEVER, not even professional scouts agree on whether Cespedes is worth the investment he is seeking. I would imagine that the Cubs’ drastically reduced payroll for 2012–if paired with good reports from their scouts–would make the Cubs highly inclined to dump Soriano and try Cespedes.

I suspect any Cub deal for Cespedes would be bonus heavy and lower in salary to help take advantage of their lower commitments for 2012.

slider32
3 years 7 months ago

Theo is going to be careful with trading Soriano, he is just owed too much money. They are hoping to get one good player for him, and eat 75% of his salary. He might be a fit with the Tigers for maybe Rayburn. Soriano becomes the Tigers DH.

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

That way they can release Rayburn right away.

cubs223425
3 years 7 months ago

Realistically, I’d want Cespedes to play in the minors for a couple of months, so using Soriano until May/June would be a fine idea. That, or they should trade Soriano and platoon Johnson and Campana.

Regardless, I don’t want to throw Cespedes into the fire unnecessarily right away.

nycub
3 years 7 months ago

I feel like Soler is the younger, cheaper option. Cespedes looks horrible in winter ball, maybe that will bring his price down.

wnglr40
3 years 7 months ago

didn’t he strike out 3 times in 1 game already in Winter ball…what can we expect from him against consistent Major League pitching? I realize that there are major leaguers in winter ball, but not all of them are.

tiger313
3 years 7 months ago

You do realize he hasn’t played in months. Anyone would need their timing back

3 years 7 months ago

He doesn’t look horrible in his workout video though.

feathers
3 years 7 months ago

Amazing what selective editing can do.

xcal1br
3 years 7 months ago

This is the best news I’ve heard all day.

LUWahooNatFan
3 years 7 months ago

Anyone surprised it isn’t the Marlins?

Jntg4
3 years 7 months ago

ChiCitySports Forums and World Series Dreaming had this one yesterday… MLBTR getting slower.

LEFTY COME BACK!

3 years 7 months ago

So the Cubs are the front runners, therefore the White Sox with get him right? 

baseball52
3 years 7 months ago

Faulty logic does not work out in your favor.

wrestlingcritic
3 years 7 months ago

Then again, most interested could just mean the Cubs have come to more workouts or anything really because he’s not being all that specific.

wnglr40
3 years 7 months ago

It seems like we’ve been “FAVORITES” for a lot of players already this offseason. At one point or another, I do believe we’ve been favorites for Pujols, Fielder, now Cespedes…seems like a broken record!  But I digress, I really do like the direction that Theo and Jed are taking the team…it is long overdue!

3 years 7 months ago

Trade Soriano to Detroit, they need a DH

wnglr40
3 years 7 months ago

They would prefer to sign Cespedes themselves than to trade for Soriano…atleast 1 would think so.

Jilogethan
3 years 7 months ago

I like Soler over Cespedes considering some feel he would have gone top 5-10 in last draft but feel the REAL price for Cespedes is more like 5yr $40mil

I really like the young projections of Castro/Rizzo/Jackson/Baez in the future plus Carpenter and Garza..or the prospects he brings back for arms.

Jilogethan
3 years 7 months ago

I like Soler over Cespedes, some view Soler as top 5-10 draft pick if he were eligible.  I love the future of Castro/Rizzo/Jackson/Soler or Cespedes in the lineup

Disgustedfan
3 years 7 months ago

Why is everybody acting like cespedes is going to be a stud. He played in the cuban league which is about as competitive as single A ball Ive heard. Last I checked big league pitching is 10 times better then single A pitching. Giving a prospect A PROSPECT 60 million dollars is very unwise. This guy has 60 million dollar bust written all over him. Since it looks like he is signing with the cubs he definitely will be a bust because every big FA they ever sign does nothing.

feathers
3 years 7 months ago

That’s why the Cubs are showing big interest. They are habitual overpayers.

dylanp5030
3 years 7 months ago

New GM. Not the same.

burtonbball88
3 years 7 months ago

Not with Epstein. If Hendry had the reins of the Cubs I would be sweating with nervousness right at what he may offer, but because it’s Epstein/Hoyer I know the Cubs are in good hands.

OrangeCards
3 years 7 months ago

Yeah, Theo is batting 1.000 on big name international talent …

feathers
3 years 7 months ago

I’m going to hold assessment on Theo until the season tarts as to whether he’ll dole out bad contracts. He’s done a stellar job thus far, but it is still the Cubs and GM’s that come in there seem to go bad.

burtonbball88
3 years 7 months ago

Name one bad contract that Hendry hasn’t signed.

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

Ted Lilly did great for the Cubs. That was the one and only signing Hendry did well on.

3 years 7 months ago

I would say that the Ted Lilly signing and Reed Johnson for that matter where more based on Scouting Director Tim Wilken’s advice. The man spent years getting to know those two and when Hendry went to his scouts for advice I bet it was Wilken who suggested those two players. I put those signings on Wilken and give minimal credit to Hendry

gr8testsoxfan
3 years 7 months ago

Trade Garza & Soto for Turner, Castellanos, & Smyly, & sign Cespedes, trade Soriano to Seattle for Figgins, place him at second, flip Barney & Byrd for low level prospects

3 years 7 months ago

Ugh that’d be awesome.

Khabibulan
3 years 7 months ago

Detroit doesn’t need soto. They have Avila

3 years 7 months ago

Quit being all logical. 

stewie75
3 years 7 months ago

we don’t take kindly to your types ’round here!

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

Tigers don’t need Soto but Cub fans don’t want Soto. With that said you can just take him. I am not sure what is a popular food in Detroit or Michagan for that matter but what ever it may be that’s what you can send back to Chicago. Plus Soto can serve as a Bullpen catcher.

Wrek305
3 years 7 months ago

I’d rather have Barney then a washed up Figgins. Barney needs to be a SS and Castro needs to play at 2nd.

Tko11
Tko11
3 years 7 months ago

Im not sold on Cespedes at all, way too big of  risk and the entire video thing is ridiculous. Same with any international free agent I guess besides the video part.