The White Sox have interest in free agent outfielders Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes, but only on a deal that would promise three years or less, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on Twitter. That’s obviously a far shorter commitment than the veterans are looking for.
Cespedes has yet to be tied closely to any particular team despite coming off of a season in which he slashed .287/.337/.604 and hit 35 home runs. Most recently, we heard that the White Sox and Orioles were looking like the most landing spots. But Baltimore is said to have no interest in nearing the $140MM price tag that we predicted here at MLBTR at the start of the offseason. And it obviously doesn’t sound as if Chicago does, either.
As I explained in a profile of Cespedes and his free agent case, it was and still is difficult to peg a specific landing spot for the Cuban native. That’s true, in large part, because there are two other premium corner outfielders available in Gordon and Justin Upton, as well as another high-end power bat in Chris Davis.
As for Gordon, who we predicted to top $100MM over five years, it seemed at one point that he could come off the board before the holidays. It’s not immediately clear whether the delay is a good or bad sign for his earning capacity, but it’s certainly possible to imagine that he’s fielding interest from multiple teams. And then there’s the involvement of the Royals, the only team he’s ever played for. Gordon himself said recently that the Royals are still in play, despite reports that their most recent offer was not competitive.
The organizations I listed as possible Cespedes suitors still arguably look like strong possible fits for either player. That includes the Angels, Giants, Tigers, Cardinals, Orioles, and White Sox. But those teams, and possibly a few others, appear to be engaged in something of a staring contest with the players and agents across the table — to say nothing of the other teams that hold veteran trade assets.
That stand-off seems unlikely to be broken by any three-year arrangement at this stage of the offseason, though it is certainly possible to imagine such an offer holding some appeal. Dangling a sky-high AAV and opt-out sweetener may ultimately be competitive, but that’s probably only an option that these players would consider after exhausting the possibilities for a longer deal.