Chicago Cubs: Yoenis Cespedes

A's to sign Cespedes for $36 million

February, 13, 2012
2/13/12
11:34
AM CT
By ESPN.com news services
ESPNChicago.com
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Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to a four-year, $36 million deal with the Oakland Athletics.

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Cespedes might return to D.R. Thursday

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
12:44
PM CT
Stark By Jayson Stark
ESPNChicago.com
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Yoenis Cespedes, who met with the Miami Marlins and toured their new ballpark on Wednesday, could head back to the Dominican Republic as early as Thursday, said his agent, Adam Katz.

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Cespedes hopes to play for Marlins

February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
4:05
PM CT
By ESPN.com news services
ESPNChicago.com
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The Miami Marlins will officially court Yoenis Cespedes Wednesday, but Tuesday the Cuban free agent said he already likes the team.

"It would be good [to play here]," Cespedes told reporters at Miami International Airport Tuesday. "There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."

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Cespedes awaits chance to finish a deal

February, 6, 2012
2/06/12
9:33
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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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.

How good can Cespedes be?

February, 2, 2012
2/02/12
10:05
AM CT
By Kevin Goldstein
ESPNChicago.com
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Now that Yu Darvish is a Texas Ranger, all the attention on the international market has gone to Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, with the light becoming brighter last week when his residency in the Dominican Republic was established, making him finally eligible to sign. His U.S.-based representative, Adam Katz, insists that Cespedes will be in camp with a team, so a signing could happen soon, and it's time to talk about just how good he can be.

Once again, opinions on where Cespedes fit on the scale were all over the board, with both extremes occurring as one exec took all five big leaguers ahead of Cespedes, while another chose Cespedes over all five established players.

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The agent for Yoenis Cespedes says the Cuban outfielder has established legal residency in the Dominican Republic, the final hurdle to becoming a free agent.

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Cespedes: Cubs have shown most interest

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
3:47
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Cuban defector Yoenis CÚspedes said the Chicago Cubs have shown the most interest in him, although the slugging outfielder cautioned that it doesn't mean he'll be signing with the North Siders.

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Cubs, Sox among teams in for Cespedes

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
1:33
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
A day after Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes made his professional debut in the Dominican winter league, he said that six teams are pursuing him, the Cubs and White Sox among them, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

The other teams are the Marlins, Tigers, Indians and Orioles.

Cespedes went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts for Aguilas Cibaenas Thursday night, but he’s still likely in for a big payday as a free agent. Some reports say he could get as much as $60 million.

The 26-year-old Cespedes, who played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, is considered a five-tool player.

ESPNChicago.com’s Bruce Levine hypothesizes that because the White Sox traded away Carlos Quentin and Sergio Santos, they have the payroll flexibility to sign Cespedes. But the outfielder also fits with new Cubs president Theo Epstein’s commitment to signing foreign stars to augment talent developed at home.

Both Chicago clubs may pursue Cespedes

December, 31, 2011
12/31/11
4:48
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes is in for a big payday, possibly as soon as next week, and it now appears that both Chicago teams may be a part of the bidding, which could go as high as $60 million.

After trading both Carlos Quentin and Sergio Santos, the Chicago White Sox have cleared some payroll, upwards of $10 million off their 2012 salary base.

That money may be used to bid on 26-year-old Cespedes or 19-year-old Jorge Soler, also a multi-talented Cuban defector, but White Sox general manager Kenny Williams was reluctant to say how far in the White Sox are in relationship to the Cuban free agents.

[+] EnlargeYoenis Cespedes
AP Photo/Gregory BullYoenis Cespedes, 26, played for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic in 2009.
“What I will say is there are some doors that are now open for us that were not open yesterday because of the savings of dollars,” Williams said. “But which direction we are heading with that, [talking about it] I think would be counterproductive with us getting something done should we decide to go down that road.”

The Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are said to be among the main bidders for Cespedes, who will be granted citizenship in the Dominican Republic. Citizenship is the first hurdle for Cespedes and his American agent, Adam Katz, to get over in order for the outfielder to be signed to a major league contract.

Katz hosted private workouts for numerous teams in November and the Cubs top brass, including President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer and VP of scouting and player development, Jason McLeod all flew to the Dominican Republic on Nov. 22.

The White Sox, all things being equal, may have a leg up on the other teams due to their success with Cuban free agents in the past.

Beginning with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, continuing with Jose Contreras and more recently with Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo, the White Sox have been a haven for Cuban baseball players.

With two young Cubans still on the White Sox team, there would be a huge comfort level for Cespedes or Solar with the White Sox organization.

Cuban players, unlike any other Latin American players, need more support when they begin their American experience due to the fact that they don’t receive any help to prepare them for the transition. Other Latin American countries, such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, hold camps for prospective players to help them adjust, such as learning a new language.

The adjustment period for Ramirez was difficult, especially playing in cold weather for the first time. It took him four years with the White Sox to hit over .250 in the month of April.

Cespedes, a centerfielder by trade, is considered a five-tool player who many believe is already major-league ready.

The dollars needed to sign the younger Soler are projected to be around $20 million. Soler is a one- or two-year project. Many scouts feel he may be a corner outfielder in the future.

The new international cap for signing free agents is $2.9 million per year before a tax penalty is paid. However, that doesn’t begin until July 2, 2012 according to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

With manager in place, time to pick team

November, 18, 2011
11/18/11
7:03
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Cubs have $58,500,000 coming off their 2011 payroll. How will president of baseball operations Theo Epstein divvy up his baseball budget in 2012?

A team’s baseball budget and baseball payroll are two different things. The Cubs will have around a $200 million budget in 2012, which represents the entire amount of money the Cubs will allocate for major league salaries, employee salaries, running the minor leagues, amateur draft signings and international free agent signings.

After saying all that, the Cubs major league payroll was at $131 million to start the 2011 campaign. The money coming off the books represents the contracts of Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Pena, John Grabow and Carlos Silva.

It’s unknown at this time as to how much money Epstein or general manager Jed Hoyer are willing to spend in free agency in order to make the 2012 team more competitive. Since taking over the team, Epstin has talked mostly about long-range goals in his “Cub way” of doing things.

The highest profile free agents on the market this offseason are Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and pitcher C.J. Wilson. The agents for Fielder and Wilson talked to the Cubs at this week’s GM Meetings in Milwaukee. But one major league source said they didn’t go into great detail in any of those conversations.

With the hiring of former Milwaukee hitting coach Dale Sveum as the new Cubs manager, Fielder’s name is in the news in Chicago. The Brewers free agent will be looking for a $200 million payday. Wilson, the top left-hander on the market, is shooting for $120 million.

“I think we are now in the mode of the offseason where we’re starting to look at players,” Hoyer said on Friday. “We had a lot of conversations with agents and a lot of conversations with teams [at the GM meetings]. But we are not close on anything.

“We know what we want. Now it’s a question of continuing some of those conversations to a conclusion.”

Hoyer wouldn’t speak about whether or not the Cubs have interest in Fielder, but said he’d help any club.

“He’s a great player,” Hoyer said. “He provides a ton of production and that goes without saying. Dale [Sveum] has great respect for him. As for whether we will be involved, we can’t comment. But I think he fits anyone’s team, especially anyone that needs a first baseman.”

[+] EnlargeYoenis Cespedes
AP Photo/Ismael Francisco/Prensa LatinaWill the Cubs attempt to sign Cuban native Yoenis Cespedes this offseason?
While the Cubs are in need of impact players, Hoyer, along with Epstein, will personally go see Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in the Dominican Republic on Monday. The Cubs top two executives and some scouts will have a private workout with the 26-year-old Cuban defector, who is now living in the Dominican Republic.

Cespedes agent, Adam Katz, describes Cespedes as as a five-tool player as well as an upstanding individual. The price tag for Cespedes may be five years and $40 million. The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers will all have private workouts as well, and the Florida Marlins have already had one.

The Cubs may also throw their money toward the Japanese market and put in a bid for right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish. The 25-year-old right-handed star pitcher may leave Japan, but getting a Japanese player away from his original team is a complicated issue.

The system is called “posting”. Darvish’s present team in Japan, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, will take sealed bids to buy his services from their team. The highest bid gets the opportunity to negotiate a contract with the player. As an example, in 2006, the Red Sox’s blind bid of $51 million to speak with Daisuke Matsuzaka went to Matsuzaka’s team, the Seibu Lions. Boston then worked out a $50 million deal with Matsuzaka and his agent. If the highest bidding team can not work out a deal with the player, then the posting money is returned to it.

The Cubs, like numerous other teams, are interested in Darvish, who is 6-5 and of Iranian and Japanese descent. Baseball scouts compare Darvish to former Yankees and Mets starter David Cone at a similar point in their careers. According to two scouts, Darvish would go right into a major league team’s rotation and be considered a No. 1 or 2 starter depending on the depth in that team’s rotation.

Some of the Cubs’ roster changes will begin to take place between Thanksgiving and the Winter Meetings on Dec. 5 in Dallas. The Cubs need corner infielders, a run-producing outfielder and at least two starting pitchers in 2012.

“It’s still early,” Hoyer said. "But once we get to the Winter Meetings past the Thanksgiving break, things start to happen quickly.”

The Cubs have their All-Star front office and their new manager. Now all they need are some players.

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WINS LEADER
Jake Arrieta
WINS ERA SO IP
10 2.53 167 156
OTHER LEADERS
BAS. Castro .292
HRA. Rizzo 32
RBIA. Rizzo 78
RA. Rizzo 89
OPSA. Rizzo .913
ERAT. Wood 5.03
SOJ. Arrieta 167