MLB rumors roundup: Will Cespedes drop his price?

Free-agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is still looking for a suitor. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek

The market for Yoenis Cespedes may finally be heating up, assuming the free-agent outfielder is willing to drastically drop his price.

Earlier in the offseason, Cespedes was reportedly seeking a deal in the neighborhood of six years and $120 million. That type of market has yet to materialize, and bargain hunters are trying to make a move.

The New York Mets struck gold last season with a July deadline deal for Cespedes, who hit 17 homers with a .942 OPS in 57 games and carried the franchise to its first postseason berth in nearly a decade.

While a return to Queens remains unlikely, the Mets have "been in contact with his representatives in case his contract demands fall in line with the team’s thinking,” reports Matt Ehalt of the Record. Meanwhile, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported that the Mets are “willing to talk” if Cespedes is willing to take a one-year deal, knowing full well that is unrealistic.

A surprise entrant to the Cespedes sweepstakes is the Atlanta Braves, who “have at least inquired to see what it might take to sign the power-hitting outfielder,” reports MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

Bowman notes the Braves are nearing the end of their rebuilding process and might consider a one- or two-year deal with Cespedes, although he insists the odds are slim. The Braves could gain some financial flexibility by shopping Nick Markakis, who has three years and $33 million left on his deal.

Any suitors for Cespedes, however, may have to wait for the Baltimore Orioles to make up their mind on Chris Davis, who reportedly has been offered a deal in the $150 million range to stay in Maryland. If the Orioles finally grow tired of Scott Boras’ waiting game and move on, they “appear poised to pounce” on Cespedes or Justin Upton, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

Our rumors roundup continues with more speculation on the outfield market:

  • Carlos Gonzalez: The signing of Gerardo Parra on Tuesday gives the Rockies four left-handed-hitting outfielders, adding to the speculation that Colorado will try to deal Gonzalez. But Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post referenced a tweet from Venezuelan sports writer Wilmer Reina, who reported “Carlos Gonzalez will stay with the Rockies, (GM) Jeff Bridich has told him he won’t be moved … at least not during the offseason.” Saunders said that is different from what Bridich told him, but it does slow down the rumor mill. This could mean that the Rockies are more interested in dealing Gonzalez over the summer, when the demand could be greater.

  • Ian Kennedy: One of the leftovers in the free-agent pitching class is Kennedy, who had a 4.28 ERA last season in San Diego. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweets the Kansas City Royals are “serious” about signing Kennedy and also have interest in Yovani Gallardo. Both pitchers would cost the Royals their first round-pick as compensation.

  • Allen Craig: ESPN’s Buster Olney asks if the Craig could be a target for the Pirates, assuming the 31-year-old infielder-outfielder bounces back and the Red Sox eat the remaining $21 million his on his contract. Craig was among the non-roster players invited to spring training by the Red Sox.

  • Oakland Athletics: While the Oakland Raiders decide on their next move, the A’s hopes for a baseball-only stadium are on hold, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said repeatedly that the current Coliseum location is the best spot for a new park.

  • Dexter Fowler: Cubs manager Joe Maddon is surprised that the free-agent outfielder has yet to find a job. “I don’t know why,” Maddon told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m sure (Fowler) is going to be fine. He did have a good year, and he’s young and he’s good.” Both Parra and Denard Span received three-year deals, but that may no longer be a realistic option for Fowler, especially since he will require draft-pick compensation. ESPN’s David Schoenfield suggests a fit with the Chicago White Sox, whose first-round pick is protected. If the White Sox did land Fowler, Adam Eaton could be moved to right field.

  • Washington Nationals: The Nationals do not have any gaping holes to fill, but general manager Mike Rizzo is not afraid to make big moves late in the offseason, as we saw last January with the signing of Max Scherzer. "In a slow-developing free-agent market, they could pounce on a big name,” writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.

  • Theo Epstein: While a deal is not imminent, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts indicated he and Epstein are “on the same page” in regards to a contract extension for the team’s top baseball executive, reports ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. Epstein is in the final year of a five-year, $18.5 million deal as the team’s president of baseball operations.