Yoenis Cespedes Might Not Be a Free Agent Until January, But at Least There’s Another Video

Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the 26-year-old star of a YouTube video that catapulted his name into the popular consciousness, has released a second video, complete with as much awesomeness as the first. You can see the video below, and you can read all about it at Baseball Prospectus.

Setting aside the enjoyable sideshow, BP’s Kevin Goldstein notes it isn’t all good news when it comes to Cespedes. For weeks, we’ve all been wondering what was the deal with Cespedes’ free agency. Having defected from Cuba over the summer, and having started the process of establishing residency in the Dominican Republic – a necessary precursor to MLB free agency – most expected Cespedes to reach free agency weeks ago. With a dozen teams, including the Cubs, eager to bid, it’s fair to ask: what’s the hold-up? Why hasn’t the Cespedes sweepstakes started?

Goldstein has the answer, and it isn’t all great news:

Mercedes also told me that he is hoping Cespedes will have his Dominican residency taken care of in the coming days. The latest delay stems from a photo snafu: front and side shots of Cespedes, submitted to the Dominican government for processing purposes, feature the outfielder wearing different clothes, which is not allowed. Unfortunately, Dominican residency is just the first bit of a three-part process. Next, he’ll have to be cleared by Major League Baseball, which should take another two to three days, and because Cespedes is Cuban, the United States government gets involved, as he has to be cleared to sign by OFAC, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, a division of the treasury office. United States businesses and individuals are not allowed to enter into any business arrangements (including baseball contracts) with Cuban companies or individuals under current law, so distinguishing Cespedes as a Dominican could take an additional 10-15 days after MLB declares him a free agent. That pushes the opening of his signing window into January, but interest remains sky high, so he’ll certainly be signed in time for spring training. Cespedes is “anxious. He says he wants to play baseball for real,” relays Mercedes. “He wants to play in a game that counts for something.”

So, if your team is in a holding pattern waiting on Cespedes – which the Cubs may or may not be – you’ll be holding on into January, at least.

The question on Cespedes, though, is whether teams are looking at him as a right-off-the-bat starting outfielder as it is. Some believe, even at 26 and wildly successful in Cuba, Cespedes will need a little time in the minor leagues to acclimate himself both to American professional baseball and to the American lifestyle. If that’s the case, the delay might not mean anything – because the bidding teams aren’t centering their outfield plans for 2012 around Cespedes anyway.

Depending on what happens in the Cubs’ outfield between now and late January, it seems more likely than not that the Cubs are one of those teams whose plans won’t be disrupted by the Cespedes delay. They are interested in the outfielder, but, unless they are planning on dealing both Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano soon, and aren’t planning on adding another free agent outfielder like Coco Crisp, I doubt the Cubs have been penciling in Cespedes as a starting outfielder to open 2012. Like top prospect Brett Jackson, I imagine the Cubs simply view Cespedes as an attractive possibility for the future.

Ok. Enough serious talk. On to the video:

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

52 responses to “Yoenis Cespedes Might Not Be a Free Agent Until January, But at Least There’s Another Video”

  1. ferrets_bueller

    Glad to see George Lucas is still employed in creating the intros, lmao.

  2. Curt

    And in a galaxy far far away, emperor selig says yes young yoenis the force is strong within u one day you will finish the cubbie death star lol srry couldn’t help it

    1. ferrets_bueller

      “Jorge Soler, I am your father.”

      or, the actual way

      Darth Yoennis: Theo-Hoyerobi never told you what happened to your father

      Jorge Solerwalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

      Darth Yoennis: No. I am your father.

      Jorge Solerwalker: No… that’s not true! That’s impossible!

  3. Who knows

    I want fielder

  4. Caleb

    Is it just me, or does he kind of look like Sammy Sosa?

    1. ferrets_bueller

      Nope, not just you.  I definitely agree, the pre/early-roid Sosa.  Which is exactly what I expect his production to be around- somewhere around a .250-.260 BA, around 25-30 HRs, 25SB, and a ton of Ks, as well as quickly disappearing speed around age 30.   The question is, how much value does that hold? Because its very similar to the guy we want to get rid of- Soriano.  I guess that brings up a second question, how is his defense?

      1. TSB

        Felix Pie; ’nuff said

  5. Deer

    The Marlins still have money left. If they want him, is there any reason to believe Cespedes won’t choose Miami?

  6. Dougy D

    I would guess that his main reason for not choosing Miami, would be $$$. Who knows where he will go, or if money will be his tip priority. I suppose that it depends on whomever he has as an agent.

    Other than that, everything is coming up Star Wars today.

  7. Lou

    Does Cepedes bat S, LH, or RH?

    1. BetterNews

      We don’t know he can hit from either side against MLB pitching here in the States. This might just be a roll of the dice. In the youtube videos he was served a menu of “prime” down the middle of the plate for batting practice which he clobbered. I don’t think that means squat.

      1. ferrets_bueller


  8. die hard

    maybe he can get tested for steroids before Cubs sign him? Or is that too logical?

  9. john

    I can see the Cubs trading Barney for Rizzo and Hudson.
    What about Jesus Guzman 8 seasons at 3rd in the minors

    1. pakman23

      You are FAR undervaluing Rizzo. He projects as a middle of the order hitter with a plus glove. Barney projects as a light hitting utility infielder.

      1. john

        Taking Rizzo and Hudson for Barney solves 2 problems for SD plus Barney plays SS

        1. Lou

          Like pakman said you’re FAR undervaluing Rizzo.

        2. Oswego Chris

          sorry…I don’t think the Padres would trade those guys for Barney..

          1. BetterNews

            Not a chance, I agree.

        3. ferrets_bueller

          Thats…a joke, right?  Barney is barely a starting infielder.  He’s pretty much a utility guy.

    2. TSB

      I thought Barney was a bum; why not just trade him even for Robinson Cano?

    3. R.I.P. Santo

      Ya because San Diego would rather have Darwin Barney than Wade Davis…you have definetly overvalued Barney

  10. BAMF

    Sign this guy…yeah the risk and downside sucks, but can you watch that video and seriously say that there is not some serious big league potential? Theo needs to tell Ricketts to get out the checkbook. He definitely is built to play now. It may take a year to adjust to pitching in the majors but we should be watching the 2013 opening day center fielded for the cubs on this video.

  11. JK

    Reds get Latos for Volquez, Alonso, Boxberger (#12) and Gradal (#5). Pretty good haul by the Padres. Is this like trading Dempster, Jackson, Candelario and Golden for a top of the rotation pitcher?

    1. pakman23

      great haul for the Pads. Grandel is a very nice Catching prospect and Boxberger has a great upside. Could actually see them flippin Alonso to another club in the NL central division for a couple more top prospects. We know the Cubs had interest in Alonso though the Reds wanted no part. Could be interesting.

  12. john

    Hudson will make $4 million 2011 and $5.5 million in 2012. There’s an $8 million mutual option for 2013 with a $2 million buyout.SD has reason to move this contract

    1. pakman23

      they do, but not at the expense of a top prospect. Do you move Soriano and Brett Jackson to the A’s for Cliff pennington to shed payroll? (and Pennington is better than Barney)

      This is a far fetched example, just saying. you don’t pair top prospects with bad contracts for nothing.

  13. john

    Soriano was a bit extreme. Unloading payroll in this case makes sense for SD
    Plus they have Bartlett and Hudson. They need to slide barlett to 2nd so Barney would play SS If not Barney then Marmol for Rizzo

  14. john

    In fact if the Cubs do a deal with SD I’ll bet we get Hudson and they get Barney

    1. pakman23

      That is extreme, just saying I wouldn’t deal a top prospect for $50M in salary relief. Let alone $7-8M. But I can actually see the Cubs dealing Barney for Hudson in some kind of deal for one of those young first basmen. But more likely than Marmol, I see pitching prospects like Carpenter, Mcnutt or Dolis going the other way. My best guess would be Carpenter, Mcnutt and Barney for Hudson and Rizzo.

  15. Pat

    No one is going to give up anything decent for Darwin Barney. He’s a utility middle infielder on most teams. Every team in the league has a couple of those stashed in triple A.

    1. john

      Barney is young and had 165 hits last year and a better line than a lot of other Rookies.
      He is sound defensively and can play SS his natural position

      1. pakman23

        he had 146 hits last year, but more importantly a .666 ops. Thats below relacement level, he is not even an average hitter. There are a million Barney’s in AAA.

        1. Kyle

          I think a lot of people are caught in steroid-level offensive expectations.

          The 2011 National League as a whole hit .253 .319 .391 .710.
          2011 NL 2b hit .258 .319 .380 .699

          Barney’s .666 OPS is below-average offensively for a 2b, but above replacement level. Throw in his above-average defense and he’s basically an average starter.

          1. pakman23

            There were 24 2B last year that got 450 or more AB’s. Of those 24 Barney ranked 19 in OPS. The average OPS of those 24 was .730. (that includes Cabrera’s ABISMAL .586 ops. OUCH)

            Barney is a utility player. He should not see that many at bats, I don’t hate him, he has some value but not much.

            1. Kyle

              That’s a flawed sampling. By filtering out teams whose second base situation is so horrible that they don’t have anyone reach 450 PAs, you artificially set the standard higher and mask the value of players on the lower end of your sample.

              Also, focusing on OPS distorts Barney’s value. According to Fangraphs, he was sixth among those qualified 2b in defensive value and first in baserunning value.

              In summary, he’s a below average but above replacement 2b at the plate, but he makes up for it with defense and baserunning to the point where he’s essentially an average starter in value, a 2-WAR player.

              1. pakman23

                Your qualified defensive and baserunning numbers narrow the field to 18 2B, so that would be more flawed than mine. Also Baserunning is a far more varied metric, players tend to have wildly inconsistant numbers, take Kinsler, he had a 5.8 to lead 2B, last year he had a 2.8 in 2010 and 2.4 in 2009. Defense is a little more consistant, but not much and if either of those fall to the less than steller numbers he put up this year he is below average.

    2. Kyle

      Barney can be an adequate starting 2b for the league minimum for the next two seasons. That has real value.

      1. Pat

        To the Cubs it does. I have no problem him playing there while making league minimum. But all other tems already have a guy like him. No-stick, all-glove middle infielders are a dime a dozen. There’s no way anyone trades anything of value for him. You might get an A ball player with a chance to turn into something, but that’s about it.

  16. die hard

    Soriano for Crawford even up if Ortiz retires?…Soriano to DH and Crawford new LF….contracts would be relatively equal considering

  17. john

    First 1/3 of the year Rookie of the year candidates
    Wilson Ramos (C Nationals): .252/.336/.403, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 0 SB in 119 AB
    Darwin Barney (2B Cubs): .311/.333/.389, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 3 SB in 193 AB
    Justin Turner (INF Mets): .337/.384/.467, 1 HR, 21 RBI, 2 SB in 92 AB
    Danny Espinosa (2B Nationals): .205/.302/.420, 8 HR, 29 RBI, 4 SB in 176 AB
    Jason Pridie (OF Mets): .239/.320/.413, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 SB in 92 AB

    1. pakman23

      If only we played 1/3 of a season!

      1. JK

        We typically do.

        1. pakman23

          HAHA! Good point.

  18. Cheryl

    Since its so slow for the cubs now, maybe they’ve decided to concentrate on the recent draftees. It doesn’t seem like Fielder is of interest.

  19. JK

    I am still convinced that the Cubs will put a competitive product on the field in 2012. They are very close to being there now. We can keep Soriano this year if we use him wisely. Having him sit after 8th inning. Facing types of pitchers that he hits well. Playing day or night games (whichever) that maximizes his 25 Hr 80 RBI capabiltiy. We need to upgrade 1B with a true # 3 or 4 hitter. And we add several pitching arms that can compete for the 4 and 5 slots. Let’s see how the next 2-3 weeks play out. I expect Ricketts to compete.

    C – Soto
    1B – ?
    2B – Barney
    SS – Castro
    3B – Stewart
    LF – Soriano/Campana
    CF – Byrd/Jackson
    RF – DeJesus

    P – Garza
    P – ?
    P – Dempster
    P – Zambrano
    P – Wells/Maholm/Smardz/

    P – Wood
    P – Marshall
    CL – Carpenter/Marmol/Cashner/Smardz

  20. john

    Why does everyone expect Stewart to bat #4 or #5 Soto is better option as is Soriano.
    1 Dejesus 2 Castro 3 Byrd 4 1st/Fielder 5 Soriano 6 7 8 Wow not much left!Soto/Barney/Stewart.That is pretty weak. Help!! Need to get a #3 #5 and #6
    #3 Cespedes #5 Kelly Johnson #6 Crisp?

  21. cubsklm

    Johnson accepted arbitration.
    It should be

    Coco. CF
    Castro SS
    Cespedes Lf
    Prince 1b
    Stewart 3b
    DeJesus rf
    Soto c
    Barney 2b

  22. Robbo

    Man this is a lotta hype. How good is Cespedes really?? Is he ready to play in MLB or will he need a year of minors to acclimate? Prospect or MLB ready??

  23. Shane

    Barney is good that was only his first season in the majors i honestly thought he played pretty well. I really enjoyed watching him play and i really think he can get better he is still young.

    1. Cedlandrum

      The problem with thinking Barney will get better is that he was the same player in the majors that he was in the minors. He is a good piece as a backup because he puts the bat on the ball, he runs the bases o.k. and he is a solid glove.

  24. Curt

    I want fielder and Healy theo can wrk the combos to do this if they want to badly enough