Yoenis Cespedes Rumors

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Chasing Puig, Cespedes

SATURDAY: For his part, Cespedes says that he has no intentions of leaving his agent, Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group. As the San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser reports, Cespedes says he is "very happy with Adam and with the work he's done for me."  

THURSDAY: "We're not inflicted with that disease," Jay-Z said in reference to other agents' belief in doing only one thing, speaking yesterday on The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 (hat tip to Forbes contributor Darren Heitner).  "It's insane to even say that, 'What does he know about sports?' Uh, everything. More than you," he added.  In regard to other agents, he said, "They've been sitting around for 20-30 years just not doing anything, so me coming, that's a problem for them.  Now they have to go to work, now they have to wake up."  The agency talk begins around the 10:20 mark in this video.

WEDNESDAY: Jay-Z made waves earlier this year when he entered the sports representation world with his Roc Nation Sports venture and lured Robinson Cano away from Scott Boras (whom he dissed in song).  Now, the company is wooing Dodgers star Yasiel Puig and also has an eye on Athletics slugger Yoenis Cespedes, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

When the Yankees hosted the Dodgers in mid-June, Puig was invited to a party at a club owned by Jay-Z after a Dodgers teammate passed along the rapper's contact information, one source said, and Puig left the meeting intrigued.  Puig has also talked with at least one other marketing agency in New York, but the prospect of joining Roc Nation remains a possibility.

Jay-Z is also known to be interested in signing A's outfielder Cespedes, who will be in New York for the Home Run Derby.  Puig could be in town as well if he wins the Final Vote for the last slot on the National League All-Star team.

As the MLBTR Agency Database shows, Puig is currently represented by Jamie Torres and Cespedes is with Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group.  Puig is in the early portion of the seven-year, $42MM deal he signed in June 2012.  Meanwhile, Cespedes' four-year, $36MM deal will take him through the 2015 season.

Jay-Z burst onto the agent scene in April, taking Cano from Boras as the Yankees' second baseman heads toward a nine-figure contract.  As Passan notes, Jay-Z rapped on the recently-released song "Crown," "Scott Boras, you over, baby. Robinson Cano, you coming with me."  Talking to Yahoo's Tim Brown on July 3rd, Boras didn't respond directly to the shot, but hammered home, "All I can offer the player is, all my time will be spent only on baseball."


A’s Notes: Lineup, Young, Cespedes, Nakajima

The Athletics held their A's Fan Fest today with manager Bob Melvin and GM Billy Beane hosting a Q&A session. Here are the highlights:

  • Melvin says second base will be an open competition between Scott Sizemore and Jemile Weeks while Grant Green, the A's fourth-best prospect as ranked by MLB.com, will also receive a hard look, reports MLB.com's Jane Lee (Twitter links).
  • Melvin plans to continue with the Brandon Moss/Chris Carter platoon at first base, tweets Lee
  • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets the A's will not use any one set lineup because Melvin has multiple options depending on matchups and who's hot. 
  • Melvin views Coco Crisp as the starting center fielder with Chris Young moving around all three outfield spots, Lee tweets.
  • Young says being reunited with Melvin is "like a breath of fresh air." (A's team Twitter feed).
  • Melvin calls Yoenis Cespedes one of most talented players in the league and Beane adds he wouldn't be surprised if the 27-year-old Cuban takes it to another level, Slusser tweets
  • Beane is confident Hiroyuki Nakajima will make a successful transition to MLB, tweets Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com. In fact, Beane joked he will have a tougher transition in dealing with the effervescent Japanese shortstop.
  • Beane expects their top prospect, outfielder Michael Choice, to open the season in Triple-A, unless something unforeseen happens, according to Pratt (via Twitter).
  • The A's are convinced shortstop Addison Russell, last year's first round draft choice, is mature enough to be invited to Spring Training even though it wasn't part of his contract, writes Slusser on Twitter. Slusser adds this is an indication of how much the 19-year-old has wowed the front office.

Quick Hits: AL Rookies, Nationals, Indians, Valentine

On this day in baseball history in 1941, Joe DiMaggio won his second American League MVP award. The runner-up was Ted Williams, who had batted .406 on the season and lost the award thanks to a writer who left him off the ballot. Here's the latest news and headlines from around the league…

  • The American League, more specifically the AL West, served as home this season to a talented crop of rookies beyond just Mike Trout, writes Paul Hagen of MLB.com. Hagen points to Yoenis CespedesJesus Montero and Yu Darvish as players who have strong cases that would easily win AL Rookie of the Year any other year, but Trout's not only a finalist for being the top rookie as he looks to take home league MVP as well.
  • While the Nationals failed to collect the hardware that comes with winning the World Series, the team's manager, top rookie and ace look to make up for it this week as the BBWAA award winners are announced, says Amanda Comak of The Washington Times. Strangely enough, Washington manager Davey Johnson was fired the same day he last won a Manager of the Year award thanks to a contract dispute with the Orioles back in 1997.
  • Count the Indians among the teams interested in pursuing Jason Bay's services, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer in his latest mailbag. Beyond Bay, Hoynes suggests the team could be in play for Melky Cabrera as the pressure-free environment in Cleveland could help him rebound next season.
  • Bobby Valentine's future may not take shape in a dugout, but Peter Gammons of MLB.com believes the veteran manager would be an asset to Major League Baseball by working for commissioner Bud Selig.


AL Central Notes: Cespedes, Boesch, Francona, Soria

As the Tigers prepare to face the A's in the deciding game of their ALDS series, here's the latest from the AL Central…

  • The Tigers "had a de facto deal" with Yoenis Cespedes last winter, reports Peter Gammons for MLB.com, before the Tigers instead chose to sign Prince Fielder.  Cespedes, of course, signed with the A's instead and now could play a role in the end of Detroit's season.
  • Brennan Boesch wasn't on the Tigers' playoff roster and his "days likely are numbered in Detroit," writes Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press.  Boesch hit a disappointing .240/.286/.372 last season and will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, so the Tigers might not tender him a contract.  Sharp hints that Rick Porcello could also be non-tendered (Porcello is arb-eligible for the second time), though with so many pitching-needy teams in baseball, the Tigers might be better served by dealing Porcello than cutting him outright.
  • The reported out clause in Terry Francona's Indians contract that allows the manager to leave if GM Chris Antonetti or president Mark Shapiro are fired is not a big deal, opines Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  "Shapiro and Antonetti owe their futures with the Tribe to Francona" already, Pluto argues, so if the team continues to struggle, a total change in front office and field management is the logical next step.
  • The Indians are much more likely to pursue upgrades through the trade market than through free agency, tweets Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • It’s better for me and my family (to stay with the Royals)," Joakim Soria tells Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.  "My wife is pregnant. I’m just focusing on my rehab. The most important thing is for me to get healthy. After that, everything else will come together."  Dutton says that Royals team officials "privately acknowledge" that Soria's $8MM option for 2013 will be bought out within three days of the World Series ending, though both sides are interested in reaching a new contract.

Quick Hits: Wuertz, Cespedes, Helton, Dodgers

On this day in 1991, the Royals released leftfielder Bo Jackson after he suffered a serious hip injury in the NFL playoffs against the Cincinnati Bengals.  That was Jackson's final NFL game but the iconic athlete eventually returned to baseball in 1993 with the White Sox and played 75 games for the Angels in '94 before the players strike brought the season to an end.  Here's a look at what's happening today..

  • Angels outfielder Torii Hunter would "love to stay" with the Halos but understands that at age 37, and with Los Angeles having plenty of money on the books, this season may be his last, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The five-year, $90MM deal that Hunter signed prior to the 2008 season expires after this year.
  • Free agent starter Javy Vazquez is not considering coming out of retirement, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
  • Free agent reliever Michael Wuertz will throw for teams on Thursday in Tempe, Arizona, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  The Twins are expected to be among the clubs in attendance.
  • Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was willing to sign with the Cubs and had reason to believe that he might wind up in Chicago, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.  Ultimately, the Cubs offered six years for $36MM while the Athletics offered that same number for four years.  The Cuban star also said that he was seeking either a four-year deal or one that was for eight years or more.  Through a translator, Cespedes said that he probably would have wound up in Chicago had the Cubs offered him the same deal before the A's did.
  • Rockies first baseman Todd Helton insists that he hasn't thought about retirement, writes Troy Renck of The Denver Post.  The 38-year-old has two years remaining on his contract.
  • More from Renck as he writes that Esmil Rogers is a trade candidate for the club.  Rogers, Edgmer Escalona, and Josh Outman are battling for the final spot in the bullpen.  Rogers is out of options and could be moved.
  • Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully addressed the club's ownership situation prior to yesterday's broadcast and said that he doesn't believe it is having any effect on the players at all, writes J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News.

West Links: D’Backs, Cespedes, Maybin

Here's the latest from baseball's two West divisions as some late night baseball is being played in Florida…


West Notes: Cespedes, Cain, Beras, Murphy, Villalona

On this day in 2009, the Dodgers agreed to re-sign Manny Ramirez to a two-year, $45MM contract.  Ramirez's time in Los Angeles came to an end in August of 2010 when he was claimed off of waivers by the White Sox.  As a Dodger, the slugger hit .322/.433/.580 with 44 homers in 223 games.  Here's a look at some items out of the AL and NL West..

  • Yoenis Cespedes was warmly welcomed by Manny, writes Yahoo's Steve Henson. Ramirez discussed hitting extensively with his new friend, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that Cespedes says it's an "honor" to play with Ramirez. (Twitter link). 
  • There was a belief around baseball that Matt Cain was going to be an easy sign for the Giants, but that now seems less certain, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.  Word was that the hurler might even be prepared to sign back with the Giants for less than $100MM but that seems far less likely.
  • If the league upholds Jairo Beras' contract with the Rangers, sources with several teams have said that they will be furious, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America.  MLB has granted some players leniency in the past if they willingly came forward with a new age or a new identity, but that does not appear to be the case in this situation.
  • Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels says that multiple teams have inquired on David Murphy, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  Even though Murphy is slated to come off of the bench, Daniels says that the outfielder is a huge part of the club.  The Twins inquired on Murphy back in December but Texas was unwilling to compromise their outfield depth.
  • Angel Villalona's name plate has been removed from his locker and that's a sign that his visa issue isn't close to being resolved, tweets Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.  The Giants first baseman is facing legal trouble in his native Dominican Republic.
  • The Athletics formally introduced Cespedes today and the outfielder said that Miguel Tejada told him that Oakland was a good organization to grow up in, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Quick Hits: Cespedes, Nationals, Axford, Calero

Links for Saturday afternoon..

  • Yoenis Cespedes' deal with the Athletics is now official, according to the club's Twitter account.  Cespedes' deal is for four years and is reportedly worth $36MM
  • In a corresponding move, the A's opened a spot for Cespedes on the 40-man roster by placing Scott Sizemore on the 60-day disabled list.  Sizemore will miss the entire 2012 campaign after tearing his left ACL.
  • Outfielders Rick Ankiel and Brett Carroll, who are both on minor league deals, are making a solid case to make the Nationals' major league squad, writes Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
  • Although people in the Nationals organization like Davey Johnson wanted him to return, Livan Hernandez says that he knew early on that his time was up in Washington, tweets Ladson.
  • The Brewers renewed the contract of right-hander John Axford this afternoon and the two sides continue to talk about a multiyear deal, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Right-hander Kiko Calero is considering a procedure similar to what Bartolo Colon underwent as he weighs a comeback, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
  • Both the Yankees and Red Sox are operating differently in 2012 thanks to the luxury tax threshold of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com.  The new provision, Speier writes, creates the possibility for more payroll parity than the game has seen in years.

Cafardo On Soler, Gonzalez, Ibanez, Abreu, Kazmir

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the Red Sox's shortstop position after the trade of Marco Scutaro.  Major league evaluators are skeptical that Mike Aviles and Nick Punto can get the job done, which could leave the door open to prospect Jose Iglesias getting the nod.  All eyes will be on manager Bobby Valentine to see how he handles the club's shortstop situation this spring.  Here's more from Cafardo..

  • Two GMs told Cafardo that Jorge Soler will go for more than the five years and $15MM-$20MM most thought he would settle for.  Some of the clubs who elected to stay away on Yoenis Cespedes because of the hefty price and question marks about his game have decided that Soler is a better value.  The Red Sox are one of about eight teams in on Soler.
  • Mike Gonzalez is likely headed to the Rangers if they can trade Koji Uehara.  The A's have also been connected to the free agent reliever recently.
  • The Yankees prefer Raul Ibanez to Johnny Damon because of cost.  Damon is seeking about $5MM while Ibanez will likely be in the $1.5MM-$2MM range.
  • Angels veteran Bobby Abreu would have gone back to the Yankees in an A.J. Burnett deal.  The Halos have a logjam with Kendry Morales returning and Albert Pujols at first base and Abreu has been offered around.
  • The Red Sox didn’t attend Scott Kazmir’s workout on Friday and have no plans to watch Brandon Webb throw when he is on display.  That's because Boston decided not to delve into the rehab market for pitchers.  The club has tried a number of pitchers coming back from serious injury and in most cases, it hasn't worked out.
  • Cafardo wonders if Cardinals backup Tyler Greene is worth a look for the Red Sox shortstop mix.  The 27-year-old was once a promising prospect and is out of options this year.

Marlins Links: Gaby, Anibal, Reyes, Cespedes, Pudge

Here's the latest from South Beach…

  • Once Albert Pujols was off the market, the Marlins told Gaby Sanchez and his agent that rumors about Miami pursuing Prince Fielder were false and that the club wasn't looking for another first baseman, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  Sanchez said he wasn't offended that the Marlins were pursuing Pujols: "He's proven what he can do for 10 straight years. I still have so much time to go."
  • Anibal Sanchez told reporters (including MLB.com's David Villavicencio) says the Marlins haven't approached him about a contract extension but he'd be open to signing such a deal.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith recently examined Sanchez as an extension candidate.
  • Sanchez also didn't mind his recent arbitration hearing with the Marlins, where he won his case and earned an $8MM salary for 2012.  "I think everybody thought they were going to say a lot of things that were bad about me. But I didn't think they said anything bad or that I didn't know. It's part of the business," Sanchez said.
  • Jose Reyes understands that the Mets didn't have the finances to re-sign him, but he wished his former team would've at least made some kind of offer, reports Dan Martin of the New York Post.
  • The Marlins offered Yoenis Cespedes a six-year, $36MM contract, reports Frisaro.  The team wanted a six-year deal since they felt Cespedes would need minor league seasoning and didn't want to pay him a large salary if he'd be spending time in the minors.  Cespedes instead agreed to sign with the A's for $36MM over four years.   
  • With Cespedes gone, Frisaro says the Fish aren't expected to add any more players before Spring Training, though they could look for veteran starting pitching later in camp.  The Marlins aren't interested in Ivan Rodriguez for the backup catching job.