Yoenis Cespedes Rumors
A few stray items to pass along as the night winds down ...
- Jeff Francis, who agreed to terms with the Reds on a minor league deal, can earn a base salary of $1.5MM if he makes the big league club, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The deal could be worth as much as $3.25MM with incentives and includes a March 28 opt-out clause, reports Crasnick (Twitter links).
- The Orioles remain interested in signing Yoenis Cespedes, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, and will send a contingent to further scout the Cuban free agent in next week's Carribean Series in the Dominican Republic.
- Several general managers of small- and mid-market clubs are concerned the new labor agreement has furthered the divide between baseballs haves and have-nots, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. In particular, the greater the number of teams that continue to shell out massive contracts, the more it encourages players on small-market clubs to refrain from signing extensions prior to free agency.
- Brad Lidge told the Phillies he wanted to stay in Philly, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN, but they apparently had no interest in retaining the right-hander. We heard earlier today that the Phils made a "lowball" offer to Lidge, who instead agreed to terms with the Nats.
- MLBTR's Tim Dierkes appeared on Tuesday's BP Podcast with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. You can download the mp3 or listen through iTunes.
Here's the latest out of the Motor City regarding Prince Fielder's huge contract and some other items of note ...
- Contrary to many large, backloaded contracts, Fielder's nine-year deal is structured so that he'll earn $23MM in each of the first two years, and $24MM in each of the seven years thereafter, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN).
- Fielder's deal also includes a limited no-trade clause, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Fielder's agent, Scott Boras, told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio that he did not receive an offer from the Tigers on Prince until after news broke of Victor Martinez's season-ending knee injury (Twitter link).
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski said Detroit is "most likely" out of the running for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, although he cautioned that "you never can tell," tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com.
- The Tigers might still sign another pitcher, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, although it would likely be on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
MLB has informed teams that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is now a free agent, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports. Cespedes, a client of Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group, recently gained residency in the Dominican Republic.
Earlier this week, it appeared that the Cubs, Marlins, and Tigers were the teams most actively targeting Cespedes. The White Sox, Orioles, Indians, Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays and Rangers also appear to have some interest in Cespedes, but the Nationals aren’t involved.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com's reports (on Twitter) that the Marlins briefly considered trading Hanley Ramirez to free up money so they could sign Prince Fielder, but they decided against it. Prince is in Detroit now, and Hanley will come to camp as the third baseman.
- The Marlins are prepared to make a significant offer to Yoenis Cespedes according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. He says it'll be four-to-six years in length. Cespedes recently gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and is waiting to be declared a free agent by MLB.
- Meanwhile, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that Cespedes has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami. However, Friasro tweets that Cespedes has no issues playing for the Marlins.
The Tigers agreed to sign Prince Fielder to the biggest contract in franchise history and the fourth biggest in MLB history less than 24 hours ago, so there’s lots of Tigers chatter today. Here are the latest links...
- Some ‘MLB bigs’ say the Fielder contract is too long and for too much money, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The first baseman agreed to a nine-year, $214MM deal.
- One rival general manager says Fielder has elite makeup, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. “He's great that way," the GM said.
- People in baseball aren’t sure if the Fielder signing takes the Tigers out of the running for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweets. Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic, but he's not yet a free agent.
- Tigers outfielder Brennan Boesch joined Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio and said he's eargerly awaiting hitting in the same lineup as Fielder. Boesch added that he had no idea Fielder was joining the Tigers.
- Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that "[his] phone has blown up talking about [the news]. It is Christmas come late."
- Here are some more reactions to the Fielder deal.
MLB has announced that Tony La Russa will manage the NL team during the All-Star Game in 2012, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). La Russa retired from managing earlier this offseason, but he'll continue the tradition of the pennant winning managers from the prior year managing the two All-Star clubs. Here's the latest from around the league...
- Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post reports that Ryan Zimmerman is open to a creative contract extension that would allow the Nationals to build a strong team around him. "We want to do a deal so it helps me and the team at the same time, so they can go out and sign guys like Prince Fielder or other free agents," said Zimmerman. Fielder is off the table now, and the Nats know what it'll take to sign their star third baseman long-term.
- "Never say never," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to Jeff Nelson and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio when asked about a potential Andrew McCutchen trade. "If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it's something that we'd have to listen to...It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club."
- The Nationals consider Yoenis Cespedes a corner outfielder or even a first baseman, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson (on Twitter). Earlier today we learned that Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic, and now awaits MLB's approval to become a free agent.
- The Indians are "making the necessary moves to get [Robert Hernandez Heredia] to the United States," reports the AP (via ESPN). Heredia, better known as Fausto Carmona, faces a judicial process in the Dominican Republic after lying about his identity.
- Twins top prospect Miguel Sano has changed representation according to SI.com's Melissa Segura (on Twitter). He is now with SFX agent Troy Caradonna.
Yoenis Cespedes has gained residency in the Dominican Republic according to agent Edgar Mercedes, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez. The outfielder is now waiting to be declared a free agent by MLB.
The 26-year-old Cespedes went 5-for-35 with no walks and ten strikeouts in winter ball this month, and won't play again according to Baseball America's Ben Badler (on Twitter). Yesterday we heard that the Cubs, Marlins, and Tigers are the teams most actively targeting him, though the Prince Fielder signing presumably takes Detroit out of the running.
A few news items to wrap up a busy Monday...
- The Cubs, Marlins and Tigers are the three teams most actively targeting Yoenis Cespedes, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Last week, Cespedes said the Cubs were his most ardent suitor, with the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, White Sox and Indians also showing "more interest" in him.
- White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin that he plans to continue playing after 2012. Pierzynski, 35, has spent the last seven years with the Sox and is a free agent after this season.
- Yadier Molina's future with the Cardinals is debated in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch roundtable.
- Bud Selig's two-year contract extension was officially finalized and announced today, Major League Baseball announced. Selig will remain commissioner through the 2014 season. The extension was approved by a unanimous 30-0 vote amongst team owners.
- Derrek Lee could retire if he doesn't find "a perfect situation," tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said Lee could be in for a Jermaine Dye-esque "forced retirement" since no team would be willing to meet his desired price.
- The Rays reportedly have interest in Edgar Renteria for a bench spot, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
- The Astros will consider uniform changes and even possibly a name change for 2013, new club owner Jim Crane announced at a press conference today (passed on by Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle).
- Indians catcher Lou Marson could see a lot of playing time against left-handed pitching, writes MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. Regular catcher Carlos Santana could play at first base on the days the strong-armed Marson (who threw out 33.3% of baserunners last year) is behind the plate. The right-handed hitting Marson has a .285/.367/.395 career line against southpaws and would add balance to an Indians lineup that is very heavy on left-handed bats.
On this day in 2006, the Mets traded Kris Benson to the Orioles for Jorge Julio and John Maine. Benson, who pitched for five different teams in his 12-year career, announced his retirement earlier this month. Here's a look at today's links..
- Yoenis Cespedes has yet to establish residency in the Dominican Republic and a source tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) there is no guarantee it will happen this week.
- A surprising number of baseball executives think that the Dodgers will ultimately be in play for Prince Fielder, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
- More from Sherman (via Twitter) as he writes that some executives think Derrek Lee could end up in something of a forced retirement, similar to Jermaine Dye. Lee wants to continue playing, but only at price that he likely won't get.
- The silence surrounding the Nationals' pursuit of Fielder is in line with GM Mike Rizzo's standard operating procedure, writes Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com.
- The oft-traded Aaron Cunningham has a positive outlook on getting dealt and views each deal as an opportunity to start fresh, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer. The 25-year-old, who was recently acquired by the Indians, has been dealt four times in his career.
- No team has gone through a more significant clubhouse-culture makeover this winter than the Rockies, who have added Michael Cuddyer, Casey Blake, Ramon Hernandez, and Marco Scutaro, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
It was one year ago today that the Angels and Blue Jays pulled off the huge trade that sent Vernon Wells to Anaheim in exchange for Juan Rivera and Mike Napoli. The Jays were considered immediate winners for getting Wells' huge contract off their payroll and the swap looks even better for Toronto given Wells' .218/.248/.412 season in 2011.
Some news from around the majors...
- New Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo holds the top spot on this list of baseball's top 10 first base prospects from MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo.
- Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledged that there are "active discussions internally" about improving the team when speaking with Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo on MLB Network Radio (mp3 link), but it's unlikely the Rangers will make another significant move. "It won't be from a lack of creativity," he said.
- Matt Garza told Hollandsworth and Memolo that he's "definitely open" to signing an extension with the Cubs (mp3 link).
- Josh Johnson tells Glenn Geffner of the Marlins Insider 790 AM radio show (and passed on by Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post) that he will begin throwing off a mound next week, the first time the Marlins ace has done so since September. Johnson was limited to nine starts last season due to shoulder injuries.
- Yoenis Cespedes is still not an established resident of the Dominican Republic, which is holding up his free agency, reports MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
- Kyle Blanks may only realize his potential if he leaves the Padres, opines Fangraphs' Paul Swydan.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune is back with his weekly online chat about the Padres.
- The Tigers, Indians and the "sleeper choice" Brewers are all possible fits for Derrek Lee, writes Tony Andracki of CSNChicago.com.
MLBTR's Mike Axisa also contributed to this post