The prolonged availability of Yoenis Cespedes on the free agent market has apparently drawn some bargain hunters. Jon Heyman reports (links to Twitter) that the Mets and Braves both have had at least some level of interest in an communication with the All-Star outfielder. New York is said to be willing to put together a two or three-year deal, per Heyman, while it’s not clear what Atlanta might be inclined to offer. The White Sox have previously been said to have interest that stops at three years. As I noted in the linked post, a big AAV and an early opt-out could be an interesting scenario, though Cespedes is still likely to exhaust all possibilities of a deal more commensurate with his big-time earning power after an MVP-caliber season.
Here are some more notes on an outfield market that has shown increased movement in recent weeks:
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Braves would have to move an outfielder in order to sign Cespedes now that Hector Olivera is in the outfield. Moving Ender Inciarte, in theory, could make room for Cespedes as a stopgap of sorts in center field, he further tweets, though Atlanta would need to trade yet another outfielder once Mallex Smith is ready for a look in center (thereby shifting Cespedes to a corner spot).
- Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves do indeed have some interest, though they’re only interested in a short-term pact as well. Bowman notes that even if Cespedes were to get to the point where he considered accepting a one- or two-year deal — an unlikely scenario — Atlanta would need to clear payroll in order to facilitate the acquisition. Asked by one of his Twitter followers about the odds of Atlanta striking a deal with Cespedes, Bowman likened them to the chances of winning the Powerball (Twitter link). While Bowman is clearly having some fun with that tweet, the fact that he is more or less dismissive of the entire notion is telling.
- Rosenthal also reports (links to Twitter) that the Mets have received no indication from Cespedes’ agents that he’s willing to take a short-term deal. Cespedes remains committed to securing a longer-term deal — a concept to which the Mets have reportedly been averse all offseason long.
- Several industry sources tell Ken Davidoff of the New York Post that they still expect Cespedes to take down a big contract. He traces the hold-up at the top of the outfield market to the standoff between Chris Davis and the Orioles.
- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has drawn interest from the Orioles, Cardinals, White Sox, and Angels at times this winter, Heyman notes (Twitter links). (The team has also been contacted by the Nationals and Giants, both of which have since added outfielders.) We’ve heard recently, though, that Los Angeles probably can’t take on that kind of salary and has not spoken recently with Colorado. And Heyman says that the “sticking point” with the O’s has been that team’s unwillingness to part with young righty (and Colorado native) Kevin Gausman.
- FOX Sports has a series of posts today regarding outfielders. Ken Rosenthal and Dave Cameron take opposing sides on the question whether the Cardinals ought to focus on adding an outfield upgrade. Rosenthal explains that the Phillies probably won’t make a value play for Justin Upton, in large part because their second-round pick is a valuable part of a talent-acquisition strategy. And Jon Morosi says that this year’s winter’s market for outfielders has gone in unexpected directions.