Yesterday, multiple reports confirmed that Chicago Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer had flown to the Dominican Republic to, among other things (and other players), get a first-hand look at 26-year-old Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes. And, as noted in last evening’s roundup, at least one report had the duo not only scouting Cespedes, but meeting with one of his advisors.
I want to say this precisely, so as not to stimulate undue excitement, while simultaneously accurately expressing the importance of these events. That Epstein and Hoyer both took the time – at this time of year – to head to the DR to scout Cespedes in person (the Cubs have scouts, you know, and Scouting/Player Development Chief Jason McLeod has already scouted Cespedes in person) is quite meaningful. The suggestion that they were also meeting with Cespedes’ advisor is also quite meaningful. But neither fact/suggestion necessarily means the Cubs will sign Cespedes or even make him an offer. Indeed, Cespedes isn’t quite yet a “free agent” (his residency in the DR isn’t quite yet processed, which is the first step), and a meeting with his agent, Adam Katz, would have to come first.
As I reported a couple weeks ago, the Cubs have been interested in Cespedes for some time, and have been planning on making a run at him. Nothing has changed on the Cubs’ end since then (see, for example, the trip to the DR), but the outward appearance of interest from other teams has skyrocketed. A number of teams have been to the Caribbean to watch Cespedes, and sources are saying his previously-believed $30 million, six-year asking price is suddenly far too low.
Still, the Cubs apparently aren’t scared off. They’re breaking out the big guns. To be sure, meeting with Cespedes’ advisor could have been as much about getting additional information on Cespedes’ background (including age), development, and contract demands, as it could have been about the Cubs expressing interest. I have no doubt those things were part of the meeting. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bit more.
Again, without stimulating undue excitement, let me suggest that it would be pretty flattering to have superstar executives like Epstein and Hoyer come down to visit you in person, and it wouldn’t be out of the question for the duo to be making the visit with the intention of putting on the hard sell.
It’s happened before.
I’m reminded of a certain Thanksgiving visit to Curt Schilling’s house back in 2003, when the Red Sox were hoping to convince Schilling to accept a trade that would take him to Boston.
The visitors? Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.