ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a fascinating new column on the lengths to which Yoenis Cespedes’ agents at CAA and Roc Nation Sports have gone to market the outfielder to clubs. Cespedes’ representatives have distributed a roughly 100-page, cloth-covered book entitled “52 Reviews” (a hat tip to Cesepedes’ jersey number) that contains testimonials from managers, coaches, teammates, executives and media members on Cespedes. The book also has a video player embedded on the inside cover which plays a highlight reel set to music. (One can only hope it is as majestic as Cespedes’ initial 20-minute showcase video as an amateur.) While Crasnick notes that such materials don’t necessarily provide increasingly analytic teams with any data of which they were previously unaware, one assistant GM offered an interesting take on the book’s purpose: “I think the agents are hoping these things will find a way into hands of the owners and have an impact on people who are writing the checks. And it’s such a cutthroat industry, the agents want to make it 100 percent clear they’re doing everything they can and more than the next guy will do.” Crasnick spoke to officials who are familiar with Cespedes that downplayed any clubhouse concerns and also talked with CAA head Brodie Van Wagenen about the effect that “52 Reviews” has had, with Van Wagenen noting that more than anything, it has sparked dialogue about Cespedes’ talent, which is the primary purpose. Crasnick’s column is well worth checking out in full, of course.
A few more notes on the free agent market…
- The Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Red Sox and Dodgers have all “at least checked in” with John Lackey’s representatives, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Each of the listed teams has a well-known desire to add pitching help either via free agency or trade this winter (or, in some cases, likely both).
- Asdrubal Cabrera is currently getting interest from four clubs, tweets SB Nations’ Chris Cotillo. The Rays aren’t believed to have ruled out a reunion, he adds, though it seems unlikely to me that Tampa Bay would not only bring Cabrera back but likely give him a raise after already acquiring Brad Miller this offseason. Miller gives the Rays an option at shortstop, and Logan Forsythe, of course, had a breakout season at second base. A Cabrera return would jam up the payroll and also push Miller into a utility role, which doesn’t make much sense after he was the key piece acquired from Seattle in exchange for Nate Karns — a quality, young right-handed starter.
- Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets that Korean closer Seung-hwan Oh is on the Mets’ radar, but the team isn’t planning an aggressive pursuit of him at this time. New York is said to be eyeing relievers to bolster its setup core.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs lists the five free agents that he would avoid this season, citing Dexter Fowler, Yovani Gallardo, Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann and Chris Davis as potential landmines and explaining his rationale for skepticism in each case.