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Monday, February 6, 2012
Cespedes awaits chance to finish a deal

By Bruce Levine

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes’ next step toward signing with a major league team will eventually happen on U.S. soil, as he awaits his chance for face-to-face meetings with his agents and interested teams.

The plan, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, is still to have Cespedes in a big league camp by the third week of February.

The five-tool centerfielder will be a rich man before he sees one pitch in spring training, as industry sources tell ESPNChicago.com that the bidding for the Cuban defector may go as high as six years, $60 million.

The Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins may be driving the price up. The speedy 26-year-old outfielder said a month ago that the Cubs appeared to be the most aggressive team pursuing his services, having taken him out to dinner a few times. And Miami team owner Jeffery Loria has told his people that signing Cespedes is a priority for the Marlins, due to the large Cuban population in the Miami area.

Many other teams, including the Chicago White Sox, are still in the mix for Cespedes, who is waiting for a visa from The Dominican Republic, where he recently became a citizen.