Cuban outfield sensation Yoenis Cespedes still is not a free agent.

While the intensity of Cespedes-related anticipation hasn’t quite been the same as it was for Japanese ace Yu Darvish (who is the superior, more likely to “make it,” international star), the wait has certainly been as long. We’ve been talking about the 26-year-old stud outfielder for months now, while he slowly established residency in the Dominican Republic, a necessary prerequisite to reaching MLB free agency.

According to Joe Frisaro, residency is about five days away for Cespedes, with free agency to follow soon thereafter. Thus, we could see a bidding war for Cespedes, who’s been attached to as many as a dozen teams this Winter, develop next week.

The expectation at this point, given the Cubs’ remaining payroll flexibility and long-standing interest in Cespedes, is that the Cubs will make a strong offer for the outfielder.

How much is a “strong” offer? It’s impossible to say, given the lack of a truly comparable player on the market, and the unknown factors involved in signing an international player who hasn’t played big league pro ball. (By way of comparison, how much would you pay for a 26-year-old prospect who has played six years in High-A ball, absolutely destroying the competition? There’s undeniable talent there, but what happens when he starts seeing better pitching? And, at his age, there aren’t many “development years” left.)

We’ve heard that the floor is the approximate six-year, $30 million deal his countryman Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds a couple years ago, and the ceiling is somewhere closer to $60 million (for six to eight years). Frisaro says he’s heard that the price is coming down on Cespedes, with a realistic target somewhere in the four-year, $32 million range (whatever team signs him still gets six years’ worth of control, though, if they would want to keep him after those four years). Given the Cubs’ situation, the reduced ability to get young talent for just money in the coming years, and the upside attached to Cespedes, that price tag shouldn’t even make the Cubs blink.

  • cdncubfan

    i haven’t read the article yet (have to post this before it leaves my head) but despite the plus defense and plus power cespedes is said to bring to the table, given the use of this picture in cespedes articles, he BETTER be fast.

    too much blur around the leg-gial area (medical term we use in canada) in this photo to suggest he’s slow. biggest cdncubfan OUT.

    • Canadian Cubs Fan

      I think a thumb-wrestle is in order on the “biggest” part :) Where you from?

      • TWC

        You forgot to include “eh?” in your response.  You’re not really Canadian, are you?

        • Canadian Cubs Fan

          Haha, I say it all the time when I’m talking, but tend to leave it out of blog posts. I’m a west coaster in Victoria…

  • cls


    Is there any similar information on Soler? When might he hit Free Agency, what would his rumored price be? And, what do you think the Cub’s interest is?


  • barroof

    He is too risky. If this is Theo and Jed’s first big money signing and he’s a bust all the while the Cubs are in the seller, The fans will be turning for the exits. Soler should be the target. I also question his possible use of PEDs. The only way I could see this happening is a 4 in the $20M range. Any higher and I’m out.

    • JB88

      As a fan, I always find it curious when other fans say things like “Any higher and I’m out”, like we offer an opinion that matters. To me, that is just a logical inconsistency. Yes, there are finite resources to use, but with the Theo and Hoyer’s clear move toward acquiring younger, cost-controlled talent, there are going to be 3-4 years in the near future where the Cubs’ payroll is going to be significantly less than the $135MM or so it was last year.

      If Ricketts is truly dedicated to spending the same amount each year and not all of that money is going into stadium renovation or acquiring additional properties around Wrigley, some of that money can be used to take a risk on a very high-ceiling player like Cepedes. In fact, I hope that the Cubs do take this risk. Their ability to acquire talent was hamstrung heavily by the last CBA, so the opportunity to add a player that costs them nothing but money has been reduced greatly. There is no better time than now to spend money, significant money, to acquire guys like Cepedes and Soler.

    • CubFan Paul

      4yrs $20M could be the price tag as part of a larger deal (with 5th, 6th, 7th year options of veteran/AllStar money and a Chapman like signing bonus ($16Million) with low salaries the first 4years)

    • http://bleachernation ferris

      barroof-couldnt agree w/u more on this one

  • tex134

    With the way things have worked out with trading for Rizzo and basically taking Fielder out of the equation, it would serve the Cubs well to take a serious run at Cespedes and Soler. Would be a huge boost to the major league club and the minors. Should also fit into the budget plans.

  • CubsFanBob

    I say a run up the market on Cespedes so some other team over pays then sneak in to sign Soler.

    • Jim

      Why not get both? Cespedes fits short term, Soler long term. Neither is going to bust the budget.

      • CubFan Paul

        exactly ..established MLB free agent Center Fielders are getting $20M a year (matt kemp), Cespedes will cost at the most $8M on average

      • Brett

        The Cubs should absolutely go hard after both.

  • JMan

    With Byrd and soriano appearing to be on the way out it’d behoove the org to go after a high-upside guy like Cespedes that costs nothing more than money.  Aside of Jackson there are no other starting-caliber OFs in the system.

    • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

      Szrzar*%##$%%, or however you spell it. He got good potential and could be better then Jackson eventually. However, we should sign both, at whatever cost(reasonable).

  • JR1908

    It seems there is a lot more interest in Soler, considering his age and lower price tag. I think teams also like the ability to develop a younger player in their system.

  • DowntownLBrown

    Sign bothif the price is right. Got to have something to be excited about this year.

  • JR1908

    I can see the Cubs signing both Soler and Cespedes. They have been pretty conservative with money, and one would think Theo wants to make a stamp on the team right away with new talent. Maybe i am just being wishful, but i think they may try to get both..

  • EQ76

    I think the Marlins will outbid everyone regardless.. they’ve been recklessly spending all off season, have been extremely interested in Cespedes and could make more sense for him geographically.

    • JR1908

      Yeah, the Marlins are stupid enough to offer 100 mill. for Cespedes.

  • cubsklm

    Sign both.

    Just give Cespedes 3 million a year and the ‘McDonalds across the street.

    An OF of Jackson, Cespedes,
    An Infield of Castro, Rizzo, and Soler

    That’s a great start

    • KidCubbie

      Just curious what INF position Soler plays. All the reports I have seen say he is an Outfielder.

    • Gabe

      don’t forget about ronald torreyes as one of the future infielders. and soler is an outfielder by the way.

      lineup would shape as follows:

      rizzo – first
      torreyes – second
      castro – short
      stewart – third




      • JulioZuleta

        Whoa, I would be thrilled if you’re right, but be careful penciling prospects at Single A into your lineup (Torreyes) and even more careful penciling prospects into your lineup that aren’t even in the organization (Soler).

        • Gabe

          i agree julio. torreyes is wishful thinking and soler was just a hypothetical response to the person who posted before me who inquired as to what the lineup would look like if we landed soler.

          given that we are in a rebuild, projecting lineups is probably the most fun that we can have at the moment. agree?

  • Drew

    May just be ignorance on my part, but has Cespedes been linked to PED’s or has that turned into a, “well, hes from Cental America, so hes probably older than we think” kind of comment?

    • JR1908

      There isn’t much ped testing down there, so who knows… And, the age thing is always a risk with those guys.

    • Brett

      I’ve not heard of any specific allegations.

  • DCF

    It will be interesting to see if the Cubs are really in for Cespedes.
    Obviously the Cubs could very easily afford him, the real question is they believe it’s worth the money. At this point I have full confidence in Theo/jed to do the right thing. They went to the Dominican to check on this guy, so whatever they think about him has much basis in reality than all speculation we outsiders can engage in.

  • sam

    I do not think the Cubs will sign either one of the CUBANS. THEY will be expensive. they are healthy and they can hit a fastball over 92 mph i do not see the upside. I think the players that Lord Sith Theo has signed will make this club a better team – A winning Team – a Tebow team but without tebow . ha ha We believe in Ian Stewart will overcome his personal demons at third base . We believe that Castro will be a Pete Rose . WE believe that Barny fife will develop into a power hitter – WE believe that lahair will win the triple crown – We belive that we can trade sot o for A young Johnny bench . We believe that Sarino is a devil that eats our sacred ivy between innings. .We believe that Byrd should fly away and be replaced by a player to name later . We believe that the Anti- christ is in left field and Dejesus is our holy savior in right We believe That once we trade Garza we will have future cubbies that will be HOF .

    OOOH Lord SITH we believe in YOU

    that a joke people dont get your panties in bunch

    • Rancelot

      Let me ask, is it really a joke if the one delivering it is the only one laughing?

      My God, do you people work in shifts? The around the clock doomsday blather has reached endless loop tape of Kenny G’s Greatest Hits status. I’m afraid that your interest in the Chicago Cubs has become an unhealthy obsession. Take a deep breath, enjoy a cup of coffee, go for a run, smell a flower, flirt with the barkeep…just step away from the computer and live, man, live!

    • JR1908

      Stupid Sam… Just flat out stupid…

    • loyal100more

      i hate every post ive ever read from you. you are such a negative, head case. im curious as to why you spend time in this site, makeing comments at all except to piss people off. are you even a fan? if you are you are the biggest whiner too.

  • die hard

    We have an OF of his equal on the Cubs at minimum wage to boot. Name: Castro….save money for developing a 10 man staff that can combine for more than 40 wins….or else only crickets will be with ricketts in the bleachers.

  • Hawkeyegrad

    I wonder how much the bucket allocated to baseball operations is. Ricketts said in the interview on Bleed Cubbie Blue that he is giving Theo about the same amount as last year for all of baseball operations (not just major league payroll) and it’s Theo’s job to allocate in the best way possible. The Cubs have created the position of President of baseball operations (for Theo) and then hired a GM (Jed) while still on the hook for one more year of Hendry. They have added numerous analysis and scouting positions that will all impact the major league budget.

    Lastly, part of Pena’s contract and Silva’s contract fall into this year while I’m not sure if the one time splurge in the minor league draft is available for baseball operations again this year or if that was just being opportunistic because they knew the payments over slot were likely to be coming to an end.

    While it is clear the Cubs have saved alot of salary at 3rd, 1st, and RF it may not be nearly as much as it looks this year given the beef up in the front office and the legacy contract costs. However, next year the majority of this opens up with Pena and Silva (and to a far lessor extent Hendry) coming off of payroll not to mention Z and Dempster falling off as well. My guess is the Cubs have about $10 million-$15 million to play with this year with another $40 million opening up next year. That would likely allow them to sign these two and then go after a couple top of the rotation guys next year if they wanted. At that point the flexibility starts to go away and you are looking at the remade roster.

    • bacboris


      I was interested by your insight and had the same thoughts myself but I don’t think the situation is as dire as you made out. I may be wrong, but I remember the total baseball operations budget to be set at 202 million last year.

      As for non payroll costs:
      -The McDonalds purchase did not come from the Cubs but instead a separate LLC run by the Ricketts.
      -According to Cots, we don’t owe Silva anything this year. (All of it was done by last year)

      All of this, doesn’t take away from your point that Hendry and Manager extraordinaire are still be paid this year. As well as in increase in the front office by about 10 million. But to say the Cubs only have about 10-15 million to play around with, that seems to me to be off.

      If the Cubs payroll is less than 110 million and:
      1. No significant Wrigley Field Renovations Occur,
      2. No new facility in S. Korea
      3. No signing of Soler and a couple more costly international prospects

      Than no one will convince me that Theo isn’t carrying the balance over to next year. Either for a star SP or for more international signings before MLB institutes the world draft.

  • die hard

    Cubs current 40 man roster will be near bottom of league in runs scored unless Campana is platooned in LF with Soriano so Campana gets much more AB facing righties and he needs to leadoff when he plays

  • MrCub73

    Unless someone totally comes in and blows up the Cespedes market, I expect to see the Cubs as the high bidder. There were not two trips by Cubs front office staff just for the sake of travel. I understand that Cespedes is not yet a free agent, but who’s to say the offers from teams are not already on the table with a pretty clear picture of where he might be headed? Look at the Cubs moves to this point and efforts to move both Byrd and Soriano, the Cubs have/are positioning themselves to go full steam ahead on Cespedes. I am picking the Cubs as the landing spot for Cespedes, it fits the direction the team is headed.

    • Boogens

      I don’t think that we can draw any conclusions on whether or not the Cubs will bid on Cespedes or Soler just because Theo & Jed made a scouting trip. We have no idea of how the visit went and any conclusions they may have come to. Each guy is a bit of a scout at heart and scouts make plenty of trips to evaluate players where nothing comes to fruition.

      That being said, it does appear that there is a lack of movement in how the Cubs are addressing the outfield personnel at the major league level. They’ve added a few pieces in the offseason, but outside of DeJesus, they haven’t done anything significant. My hunch is that they’re waiting for the residency issues for both guys to be resolved before addressing incumbents like Soriano and Byrd.

      • MrCub73

        Yes it is true that teams often scout and cross check several players. It is more than just the scouting that leads me to believe the Cubs have every intention of signing Cespedes. Regarding the scouting, Theo and Jed were holding a private workout within one week of McLouds initial trip to scout Cespedes. True, you cannot read too much into that alone. It is like you said, they have done little to address the current outfield other than DeJesus. Clearly they are looking to move Soriano and Byrd, so you then can speculate who the starter will be if one or both are moved. They don’t seem sold on Jackson at this point, Sappelt may gets some starts, but is he a starter or #4 OF? Even if the Cubs sign Malhom here in the near future, they still have several millions at their disposal, maybe more if Soriano and/or Byrd are moved. They seemed positioned to make a move in the market, but what is left in the market that fits the Cubs needs? I have seen some say Cespedes don’t fit the Cubs model, but it clearly does fit the Cubs model. What is the model? Players in or close to their prime, speed, power, defense and so one, which does Cespedes not fit? Nothing is a certainty, but taking any emotional attachment to being a Cubs fan out of the equation and if I were a betting man I would put the odds in favor of the Cubs singing Cespedes.

  • sam

    Realistically I do not think the Cubs will sign either player
    They may be good players ,but to gamble an absurd amount of money is not the business model that Cub Organization is reflecting. I do not see the need to get over hyped on these individuals. If for some reasons the Cubs do sign any then we can speculate with hope.

  • rbreeze

    I see the Cubs being players for both.  But I don’t know if they’ll be the highest bidder.  Look for the White Sox to make strong plays for one or both.  They have had some success with Cuban players and they have been saving money for a reason.  I see the Marlins of course and the Yankees might be lurking in the weeds too.


  • ty

    Diehard: Hopefully Theo, Jed, and Dale have watched some tape of Tony Campano. He stole 24 bases in 143 times at bat. Five hundred at bats could be 90 stolen bases and he did hit a respectable .260 in a fragmented rookie season. In the many, many games that I have seen him play before his mlb debut he was an above average outfielder escept for arm. Rarely do I recall a game that he was not a plus factor. No doubt about it that when he hit the bigs that he did not play within himself, diving for balls etc. He is a smart kid and that will end with a mlb spring training under his belt.

  • JR1908

    Both the Cubans are a decent risk, but if one of them pans out to be an all star caliber player than the Cubs are getting a bargain.

  • Tommy

    Sign Soler, get Cespedes if you can get him for 4 years or less. I can’t see them signing an unknown commodity for millions of dollars into his 30’s. He seems to be at the top end of the age range that they’ve been interested in thus far.

    If he’s asking for $8M/year, that might be a little rich for a kid that’s never played a game in the majors. I’d much rather see that type of money spent on a player that has shown they can perform at the MLB level.

    • loyal100more

      i agree, except i think anything under 10M on a 4 year deal is what we might consider a risk very worth takeing.

    • loyal100more

      but id really be all over the youngster before even thinking about cespedes.

  • Tommy

    $10M can bring you a pretty darn good major league ballplayer. I did like what someone suggested earlier – a large signing bonus, and lower yearly salary for 4 years. They could make that work for sure.

    I would be excited if they signed both Cubans. Something else that was mentioned in this thread that I thought was a good point – Campana, give that kid a shot. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a real stolen base threat. I’d love to see that kid get more time.

  • loyal100more

    true tommy. but remeber these guys and theyre agents are gonna be swinging for the fences. we may have to be generous up front to see what the return is.

  • loyal100more

    though an incentive laced contract and bonuses is the smart way to go, the fact remains that they have a bunch of teams looking at them and somebodys gonna have to risk some $ to sign them.

  • loyal100more

    i think for this club soler seems to be the smarter gamble, and will come at a discount by way of comparison.

  • http://buckeyeexpress tiger 3

    Do not forget about Detroit Tigers. GM has been to see Mr. C twice & they have 4 scouts look at him.They have over 23 million off their books this year.