9:40pm: Both New York and Washington are “operating under [the] assumption that other teams also are pursuing Cespedes,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds (links to Twitter). He notes that the chatter surrounding the Mets’ three-year offer may be luring other organizations into the mix (if they weren’t already) to pitch their own ideas based on such a concept.
As Rosenthal notes, the White Sox are one club that has already been reported to have interest at that level of commitment. I’d add that the Orioles remain a plausible suitor at a more limited contract length, and certainly it isn’t hard to imagine other clubs that could be intrigued by that idea.
8:43pm: The Astros do not appear to be a late entrant, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart tweets.
Reports recently have suggested that a signing could come in very short order, with those two teams appearing to be the finalists. Washington is said to have dangled a five-year offer with a value approaching, if not exceeding, $100MM. New York, on the other hand, was set to meet with Cespedes’s reps today in hopes of selling him on three-year scenario of some kind.
But a mystery team (or teams) appear to be altering the equation as the star outfielder nears his decision. It’s not known which late entrants are shaking up the market for the veteran Cuban slugger, but neither is it difficult to guess at some of the possibilities. In fact, Steve Adams and I broke down no fewer than a dozen possibilities just yesterday in the latest episode of the MLBTR Podcast.
As I wrote back in early December, there was never a clear favorite for Cespedes, but it always seemed there’d be a wide array of interest. After all, he’s only thirty and is coming off of a monster 2015 campaign. While there are certainly some major question marks — in particular, the fact that his 2013-14 work fell far shy of his efforts in the seasons before and after — there’s no ignoring his ceiling.
Most of the clubs noted in that post are still plausible suitors. It’s probably safe to scratch off the Tigers, but clubs such as the Angels, Giants, Cardinals, Orioles, and White Sox all still seem plausible to varying degrees. The Padres have been said to be lurking, too, and so have the Braves — though Atlanta, at least, has always seemed to be on hand in case of a bargain.
And it would be foolish to rule out organizations like the Rangers — if not even the Red Sox or Yankees — when a premium talent is on the board. Really, only a handful of organizations appear to be wildly implausible pursuers. There are always ways to deal with perceived logjams, after all, and Cespedes represents the last open-market opportunity to add a potential superstar.