Earlier today, Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes’ Dominican Winter League team revealed that he would no longer be playing with the team after a two-week stint. I guessed that was a prelude to an announcement regarding residency, and, if my elbow can stand the reach to my back, it looks like I nailed it.

According to Cespedes’ advisor, Edgar Mercedes, the outfielder’s residency has come through in the DR (a necessary precursor for a Cuban defector to come play in the States), and is now awaiting MLB’s approval of his free agency. From there, he’s open for bidding, and things could happen very quickly.

The Cubs and Marlins are believed to be the 26-year-old’s two most active suitors right now, but, as the Tigers proved today, a team can come out of nowhere and scoop a guy up at the last minute (incidentally, the Tigers’ scooping – of Prince Fielder, in this instance – probably limits the money they could offer to Cespedes (the Tigers were previously considered in the top tier of suitors, together with the Cubs and Marlins)).

The Cubs have been in on Cespedes for months now, but no one yet has a great sense of just what his price tag will be. The low end of estimates has him topping the six-year, $30 million deal Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman got from the Reds a couple years ago, and the upper end has Cespedes pushing $60 million (presumably over six years). The Marlins have openly said that they’ll bid aggressively for Cespedes, right up to the point of “stupidity.”

The report does not discuss whether fellow defector Jorge Soler, a 19-year-old outfielder, has also achieved residency. Either way, Soler may not sign for a while yet, given that he’s more of a true prospect than Cespedes, who’d like to at least get a chance to show what he can do in Spring Training.

UPDATE: Dominican writer Dionisio Soldevila says Cespedes has been granted free agency, too. I followed up with Soldevila to confirm that he meant free agency in addition to residency, and he said that “[Cespedes’] agent Edgar Mercedes says so.” It’s possible we won’t get some big, formal announcement of free agency, so this may, in fact, be the first report of it. Alternatively, free agency is still a few days away, and there’s merely some confusion about residency and free agency. Either way, the bidding is about to ramp up (if it hasn’t occurred already).

  • Brian

    Right now I would bet stupid money will be spent!

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I hope Ricketts suddenly lost his wallet.


  • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

    I don’t think he’ll be on the market long once MLB gives him the green light. I’m hoping the Cubs can land him for 6 years / $48 million or less, but the Marlins sound like they are going to push things.

  • SouthernCub

    I DO NOT want a 28 yr old OF who’s never seen competition above High-A ball

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      not for anything even resembeling big bucks… let florida pay him 8-10M not us

    • Hrubes20

      Good thing Cespedes is 26.

      • NyN

        26 in cuban years has to be like 33 when converted to the US

  • JulioZuleta

    Brett, do you have any idea how long it usually takes to achieve free agency once citizenship is established?

    • Kyle

      It’s weird. In the past, some guys have taken a week or two, and some guys have been approved within hours.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      I’ve read in a couple of places that it generally takes two weeks, but that was before the first of the year. Given how high profile a guy Cespedes is, I’d not be surprised if MLB tries to expedite it somewhat.

    • JulioZuleta

      Hopefully since this has been such a long time coming, some of the work was finished preemptively and it’ll be done within a few days. This has been the offseason of drawn out story lines between the Cubans, Garza, Fielder, Braun, and all the other yet-to-be-signed guys.

  • Hawkeye

    Brett, any idea on how long the MLB will drag its feet to get this done?

  • MB allbearsbullscubs

    If he is stating that he is 26 then he is really 29. Ill pass on this guy. Lets try to land Andre Ethier next year when he hits the market.

    • njriv


      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        What do you mean “IF”?

  • Rancelot

    We as Cubs fans have serious “trust” issues for good reason, but we really need to wipe the slate clean and “trust” Jason and his staff along with Jed and Theo when it comes to talent evaluation. If the braintrust believes the Cespedes could be part of the new era, I’m willing to believe it!

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      I “trust” Jason, Jed, and Theo, but I don’t “trust” that Cespedes is telling the truth about his age.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        im highly skeptical… but if the chapman deal is any indication as to what the price might be im okay with that. you get past 6M a year… im out!

        • Kansas Cubs Fan

          Thats the thing, he reportedly wants 60 mil for 6 years.

          If they can get him for 5-6 mil a year then go for it, but more than that its ridiculous.

  • Cubsin

    I’ve heard the Marlins offer may be heavily backloaded, with plenty of incentive bonuses. I hope the Cubs can win by offering substantially more dollars up front and better guarantees.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      are you not the least bit sceptical?

  • JB88

    The Marlins comments seem to me to be a tactic to drive down his market. It also seems like amateur hour. The teams that strike on these deals don’t push other teams out of the market with published threats. They do it very quietly. That’s why I don’t think the Marlins are going to win.

    Frankly, I think that they were posturing to their Cuban fan base to be able to say later that whoever won paid a “stupid” amount. That way the Marlins can say that they went all in on Cepedes and that they only lost because some other team was willing to ridiculously overpay.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      good point… we will definatly see in how the bidding goes.

    • Wilbur

      Definitely a perspective I had not had before …

    • CubSouth

      I had thought of that tactic but it really wouldn’t make sense. If your going to throw it out there that you are willing to spend “stupid” money on a guy, then you best do it. To say that, just to appeal to the Cuban fan base would be crazy, unless you backed it up. The only way you get away Scott free is if another team actually did pay a ridiculous amount. If he ends up signing for 6 yrs/ 40 mil, then you end up looking like a liar and a cheapskate.

  • Jeremy

    I really feel like if the Cubs got him for 60 mil for 6 years it wouldn’t be all that bad. Yes I would prefer less than that or an incentive based deal but I feel like we do have money to spend this year and I think it would be best spent on all 3 of these Cuban guys. Preferably Soler and Concepcion over Cespedes but hey I am going to go ahead and trust the scouts as well as Theo and Jed for now.

  • Cliffy

    Cubs draft picks # 6, then # 42 as comp for Aramis, # 53 comp for Pena then # 62 second round draft pick. Not bad hope drafting guys are on their game that day.

    • Matt

      Good thing is it is a deep draft. It isn’t top heavy. I personally liked last years draft more than this year, but I will be curious to see who we go after now that we aren’t drafting on upside alone.

      • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

        I don’t think it will be as deep as last year’s draft, but I like the looks of it so far. What we don’t know is how the new CBA will play into drafting strategies. It’s too early to say yet if the Cubs will be able to land someone as promising as Baez with the #6 pick.

      • djriz

        any position they draft is needed, but watch for a bunch of ‘great stuff’ college pitchers that just need a little minor league seasoning. They’ll probably just need to add a pitch or work on command.

        the new cubs draft strategy…….high ceiling/MEDIUM floor!

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      really looking to take a big step forward in this draft.

  • Matt

    6 years 42.5 million. Calling it now.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      That would be nice.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      to high ill pass… on to the draft

  • http://Thebigdealchicago.com Justin Koehneke

    Too big of a gamble. We have this prospect named Brett Jackson that is younger and has face real pitching. Lets save our money and aquire a couple of big arms in next years FA

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      I don’t think they need to save money for next season. Without Dempster, Zambrano, or the last $5 million of Pena’s salary on the books, the Cubs will role into the off season with at least $30 million to spend regardless of what they give any international free agents (baring some crazy back loaded deal).

      In other words, the Cubs have the money to make strong bids for all three Cuban players now and still have room to pursue a couple of top end starters in the off season. Payroll is not one of the Cubs problems.

  • Jeff L

    I really got a feeling there is no way the Cubs are going to outbid the Marlins. Don’t forget we got a really cheap owner in Ricketts who I predict it is Ricketts goal to lower are payroll below 100 mil and keep it there.

    • Hrubes20

      I hope you’re joking.

    • mark


  • rbreeze

    Cuban players have worked out well in the past.  I like Ramirez on the south side.  There have been others.  I’ll go with whichever way Theo and Jed decide.  I believe that they have been saving some cash for this point and time.  I’d take the young ones myself, Soler and Concepcion.  Cespedes makes me worry.

  • JK

    Cespedes seems to be the type of prospect that this club is missing right now. A big bat that can play the OF and that is close to MLB ready. He may not be the right prospect but to get a 3-4-5-6 hitter that can hit 25-30 HRs and can be a corner OF seems like an ideal fit. I will let Cubs Mgt. decide if Cespedes is someone we want to invest in.

  • Mike F

    First we see, the Latin players in general lie over and over about their age. So it’s highly unlikely he’s 26, let’s just say he’s 27. Chances are he will spend time in AA and AAA before seeing the big leagues. That’s best case scenario this season. Worst case never. Somewhere more reasonable with allowance for adjustment, probably 2013 with his ending productive or max value 2014. Certainly it could be better, but it could be worse. So in essence it’s reasonable to expect he will be 28-29 before he’s really MLB ready and capable.

    Second, he’s got an older guys body and comes from a steroid using known place. Does this really make sense at this time for this organization.

    Third, he’s got Sammy’s agent driving the bus, given what we know about Sammy, does this really make all that much sense.

    Fourth, he’s going to get 6 years 50or more. All right, I get it, it’s a gamble that might make sense. But here’s what gets me, there are plenty here and elsewhere peeing their pants to trade Garza for Jackson type prospects as in 2 or 3. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jackson and lot of the Cubs system, that’s fine some don’t prior to the trades and that’s fine we all see this differently. But absent the best deal mentioned Turner, clearly most of these trades make no sense to me, other than adding pieces for removing salary. And yes, I think Garza would be nuts for not signing for say 4 years 50M. And with Miami, Detroit and the Cubs, maybe Washington all in, it’s probably going to be more than 6/50 on Cespedes. Yes, I agree with those who will say Garza has the risk of injury, but bluntly, I don’t see how anyone without projection, the curse of modern day sports, can say Cespedes offers better value and less risk.

    And finally, I need to understand based on the competition and as Brett points out his play in the Dominican how Cespedes can be projected as immediate MLB impact. I’m not of a mind that they can’t take the risk, they can and I will support them no matter. But that said, there very tepid offseason approach, the moves I like, not necessarily the volume. The emphasis on LT assets and paying for production, I am puzzled. In Cespedes you are gambling for virtual production and maybe that is the state of the game, but there is something about Cespedes that bothers me. Hey I could be wrong but I think it’s a bad decision.

    • Kyle

      Accusing all “latin” players of being prone to lie about their age is more than a bit lazy. Some countries have better record-keeping than others.

      • Bric

        Hey PC policeman, what countries are you reffering to? Be careful, you’re close to make prejudicial statements yourself.

      • Mike F

        That’s all fine and dandy and it’s fair to criticize at a politically insensitive comment, but hold a great deal of compassion for most of these guys. They are impoverished beyond impoverished and most come into the game as very poor kids in desperate situations looking for a way out.

        There are plenty of clear examples of how this all occurs. Am I insensitive their plight, not really, but from a business standpoint, whether it’s the example of 2 days ago with Carmen, Sammy, Aramis, Zambrano…. on and on, it’s pretty clear it’s common place to lie about ages. Of course it was OK to speculate that Pujlois might be older, most didn’t want him.

        But I’m not racially insensitive just trying to point our a simple business consideration. I apologize if I stepped on toes, but don’t know how else to point our a clear reality in what is best termed Latin Baseball. And bluntly I think Cuba and their whole process of recording such things is probably as bad or worse than most.

  • Jeff L

    Heres to asking everyone to finally stop talking about the Cubs (Ricketts) saving money. Truly it’s a joke that all these Cubs fans want to help out with his finances. He purchases the 3rd most popular team in the US with the 3rd highest ticket prices he should be able to afford a high payroll. Besides all of that untill we know what type of (Cubs cap) Mr Ricketts wants to give the Cubs there is no point in talking about it. That’s the bottom line. Cheap Ricketts has the money to spend he chooses not to.

    • Hrubes20

      You have access to the Cubs operating budget? Please, do share it with the rest of us. How is Ricketts being cheap? What I see off the top was $127 million or so spent in payroll in 2011, with another $20 million spent in amateur signings. This is the same money type of money that was spent by the previous regime by shelling out $140 million for payroll and only $7 million on amateurs. Ricketts is spending the same amount of money, and IMO, he’s spending it much more wisely.

      • drew

        Which is exactly what someone who owns a business should be expected to do. Its not about how much money an owner has. Its about using your resources in the most efficient and effective way possible in order to have a successful, profitable business.

    • Matt

      Jeff has been screaming this stuff as loud as he can for a while, but literally has no clue what he is talking about. I wonder if he realizes how little of the pie ticket sales are. TV revenue is a huge part of every team. We don’t have a good deal. Advertising and marketing dollars are minimal at Wrigley at best. Operating costs are very high outside of the players because of the constant upkeep of a historic stadium such as Wrigley. On top of that, we are spending over $120 million based on that, not including the draft or international signings. He has 0 clue of what he is talking about. On top of that, we are trying to rid ourselves of the bad contracts that are holding down our chances of signing people to be competitive, not just to sign them, and people like him are calling Ricketts cheap. No clue, absolutely no clue.

      • Jeff L

        Matt you have absolutely no clue buddy. Ricketts is only spending 120 mil because he has to to get rid of Big Z and he “couldn’t afford” to pay the whole contract of Pena. Now we have the 3rd highest ticket prices in baseball. Yes, compared to the Yanks, Redsox, and Rangers Ricketts is very cheap. All those teams spend the same amount on prospects. 120 mil salary doesn’t cut it anymore if you want a championship. The thing is not all the 120 mil is actually on the team. We are paying Big Z to get out of town 15 mil. Also add Pena to that so there you got 20 mil. Not including that we are probably going to trade Garza so take off 9 mil. We are already down to 91 mil if Garza is traded. Don’t expect that number to go up after next season. Truthfully I’m so sick of all the Ricketts and Epstein homers like Matt there. Ricketts is very cheap and you can’t use excuses that advertising and marketing dollars are minimal at Wrigley. We have one of the top attendance and he makes tons on vendors and apparel. Not to mention he makes money on the rooftops now too. You don’t know his finances so don’t pretend to or give excuses not to go after top of the line athletes.

        • BetterNews

          Jeff l-After all that, what is your point?

          • BetterNews

            Where is the “real” Jeff? He knows his shit!

            • MichiganGoat

              His royal majesty King Jeff is busy studying or sleeping, which is where I’m headed. You kids play nice.

              • BetterNews

                MG-Not King Jeff, the real Jeff. He will repond in short time, I’m sure.

                • Jeff L

                  BetterNews you mean “homer” Jeff part of your Theo and Ricketts “homer” clan lol

                  • BetterNews

                    Wasup wit tat?

                • MichiganGoat

                  King Jeff is the original Jeff of BN, he was here in the beginning and if the first and true Jeff here on BN.

                  • Jeff L

                    lol what kind of comment is that. MG seriously are you 10 years old. Only a 10 year old would make a comment like that. It sounds like you’re in grade school:)

                  • BetterNews

                    Then who is the regular ” plain jane” Jeff? I might have missed something.

                • ferrets_bueller

                  King jeff is the real jeff.  he changed his name when various other jeffs appeared.

                  • BetterNews

                    Nah! The “real” Jeff will speak.

  • Edward

    I just have a gut feeling that Cespedes will not live up to the hype. I thought the videos were hilarious. Is anybody else reminded of the “Impossble is Nothing” video resume that that Yale student sent out a few years back?


  • Cliffy

    Keep in mind Florida has no state income tax. Illinois’s rate is 5%. We are unlikely to beat their bid by more than 5%. I don’t see us signing Cespedes. Given Florida aggressive signing statements we aren’t likely getting him. IMHO

    • Poopypants McGee

      that didnt stop Albert from signing with the Angels. The contract the Marlins offered was more lucrative after taxes.

    • Hrubes20

      It only applies to games actually played in the state of Florida.

      • Cliffy

        Are you saying, home games are at 0% rate and away games are at the rate of each state they play in? I’ve never heard that and frankly find it hard to believe.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I’m fairly certain Hrubes is correct. Doing taxes for ballplayers is quite a process.

          • Cliffy

            I stand corrected then. I apologize for being a non believer.

            • CubSouth

              i have a friend who is a pitcher for the Bluejays. He told me it’s nuts to try and figure out your taxes as a player. There are so many people he has to pay and tip and actually, a minimum salary player isn’t getting off like bandits after their budget is finalized.

  • Spoda17

    I really… really… do not want Cespedes. I just do not see it helping us now, or in the long run. Save the cash, get the 19 yr old, check his dental records, and pass on Cespedes…

  • juice

    Who is to say he really is only 26??? The guy could be pushing 30 like his boy Fausto Carmona!! I’d stay away and gamble on Soler.

  • Bric

    I hope the Cubs save their money. Cespedes will turn out to be another Felix Pie. BTW, Carmona’s real name is Carlos Zambrano. Now if we could only figure out Zambrano’s real name…

  • North Side Irish

    Would people really be doubting Cespedes’ age is the Fausto thing hadn’t just happened? Why is no one questioning Soler’s age?

    Obviously he is looking for a lot less money and even if he’s only a few years older he’s still a prospect. But a raw 22 year old is far different than a raw 19 year old. Just seems like the two are being viewed differently here.

    No real reason to believe Cespedes is not really 26. As far as his talent, I’m in the camp of believing in the guys who judge baseball talent for a living. If the front office thinks he’s worth the investment, I’m willing to roll with their opinion.

    • drew

      Unfortunately yes, they would still question his age because a few bad apples spoil the bunch. I cant bring myself to be skeptical about every single player churned out of these countries just because a few of them have lied about their age. Sure its a concern, but you cant just pass on the guy because “hes probably 29 or 30.”

    • Andrew

      I have to agree with you on taking our scouts opinion for it. The head scout in the Caribbean for the Cubs, I forget his name, has been all over all three of these Cubans for a while now and I definitely trust him after striking gold in Starlin. If we get Cespedes til hes 32, weve probably locked him up for all of his best years for probably a pretty decent deal even at 30-50 mil. Make a lot of that cash pro rated on how much he actually plays in the majors and throw in some incentives and I think the Cubs get a great deal.

  • morgan

    Marlon Bryd for Martin Prado, lets get it done

  • die hard

    Cubs cant be seriously going after this guy when they are one financial crisis away from having to seriously consider Ch 11?….Hey Mark Cuban, forget the Dodgers and call Mr. Ricketts who may be willing to listen to an offer he cant refuse

  • Joker

    It’s amazing how everyone on this board has been asking about Cespedes’ impending free agency and drooling over the chance to sign him for a couple of months. Now, with a chance to actually sign him on the horizon, everyone is getting cold feet. Amazing.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Don’t get ahead of yourself pal, not everyone has been on the Cespedes boat.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Updated to reflect the report that Cespedes has been granted free agency, in addition to residency.

    • BetterNews

      Brett–You stated Cespedes had been playing poorly on the Dominican Winter League. How poorly? What kind of numbers.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Hitting under .150 with a ton of Ks and no walks. But, it was like 35 at bats. Far too small a sample size to impact any decisions.

        • BetterNews

          What’s your “gut” feeling on him?

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            A very nice lottery ticket.

  • the-cats-pajamas

    Professional athletes are required to pay income taxes in every state and city that levies them where they earned a salary during away games. That means NBA and Major League Baseball players must file tax returns in dozens of states and several cities. In some jurisdictions, that includes practices, as well.

    Each state determines taxable service performed, also known a “duty day.” The nonresident income tax, which is dubbed the “jock tax,” surfaced in the 1990s as a way for states to tap into the soaring paychecks of visiting professional athletes, said Ryan Losi, the executive vice president of Piascik & Associates, an accounting and financial services firm in Virginia that works with professional athletes.

    Losi said many believe “jock tax” enforcement began when California taxed Michael Jordan when the Chicago Bulls beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals.

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