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As expected, it didn’t take long.

After achieving residency in the Dominican Republic earlier this week, and, with whisper last evening that he had reached free agency, it’s now official: 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is a free agent.

The Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins are expected to be among Cespedes’ most serious bidders. I never like to create unnecessary optimism, but the tea leaves look good for the Cubs:

  • The Cubs have been in on Cespedes since early November. (*Cough* first reported by me *cough*)
  • Cespedes, himself, has previously said the Cubs have been pursuing him the most aggressively.
  • Danny Knobler says others in MLB report that Cespedes has said he would prefer not to go to Miami.
  • Kevin Goldstein said, after talking to various international folks last week, that he believes the Cubs are the most likely Cespedes destination.
  • The Cubs have the money to spend on someone like Cespedes.

Don’t get your hopes up, because, as Prince Fielder just demonstrated, anything can happen.

  • Toosh

    Cespedes age concerns me. Whether it’s his true age or his “adjusted” age.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I imagine there will always be a little doubt, but I figure Theo/Jed/Jason are in a much better position than we are to know whether there’s a serious concern there. They’ve been vetting him for months.

    • Kyle

      Has anyone come up with a case of a Cuban player falsifying his age? AFAIK, that’s mostly been a Dominican problem.

      Or is this just a case of “well, everything south of America is the same” thinking?

  • cls

    I personally think Cespedes will feel even more at home with the Cubs, being a Cuban. There are a couple reasons for this:

    1) They are very similar words:
    CUBa
    CUBs

    It’s like they are made for each other.

    2) Starlin Castro
    I mean hey, our young shortstop is practically named after one of Cuba’s most colorful personalities. It will make him feel right at home!

    I’m beginning to see why he would prefer Chicago over Miami.

    • rcleven

      You forgot the sand at Oak St will make him feel like home.

    • ferrets_bueller

      Lets not forget the similarities in uniform colors! And there are probably weeds growing on the fences in Cuba as well.  The subpar facilities most certainly will make him feel right at home as well.

  • BleedBlueinWNeb

    bottom line for me is Theo, Jed, and McCleod know what they are doing…i love the video/photo of Theo watching Cespedes taking BP. These guys have been in on him from the beginning. Like brett has said it’s rare that you get a chance to go after guys for just dollar bills. plus i think it would open up more trade scenarios for prospects for guys that won’t be needed like byrd.

    Plus he’s an athlete…we’ve not had many of those recently. all in all i’m a fan of acquisitions like dejesus, wood, volstad, the two kids we got in the marshall deal, and maholm. Cespedes / soler / concepcion will add some flash to the organization and some swagger. that stuff is needed as well i think.

    i don’t worry about the dollars really, that’s for the execs to figure out…and i’m of the belief the cubs will not be cheap! i mean for cryin out loud Ricketts got Theo to come here…i doubt he leaves him high and dry, cause then theo would leave after 5 years and the egg would be on TR’s face. i gotta believe they have $ to spend whenever they want to.

    Hope we sign this cat!

  • chris

    If Cespedes is indeed considered the greatest Cuban player in a generation, regardless of his age, he will help bring in other Cuban prospects to the Cubs.

  • andrewmoore4isu

    I am currently enrolled in a class called immigration policy, and as it just the start of the semester I do not know much about immigration. But, just because Cespedes got into the Dominican Republic, does that automatically mean that he can come and “work” in the United States?

    • Toosh

      He’s free to agree to a contract but he can’t finalize it until he gets an unblocking license from the Treasury Dept.

    • Matt

      Yes, it was a rule that your government put in place I think recently I think.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I *believe* there’s an exception for would-be MLB players that speeds up the process post-residency.

      • Toosh

        I’m just relaying what I read @ ESPN. Sorry.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          No need to be sorry. I’m just relaying what’s stuck in the back of my head for some reason.

  • Ron

    Is Wrigley the only existing ballpark that Cubans could have traveled to prior to the embargo/revolution?

    Edit: Other than Fenway.

  • die hard

    sure sign of idiocy if Cubs sign him especially when still have outstanding issues including compensation to Bosox and San Diego, Soriano contract, no set pitching staff, Garza, etc….why take on this unknown and potentially bigger headache? Unless Theo is playing the game hoping to build him up so division rival takes the bait….need to get house in order first before going on spending spree…this is not Congress you know

  • Matt

    Peter Gammons just said on the mlb network that he still thinks the Marlins will get him. He thinks the Cubs will be in it, but we won’t get him. Gammons hasn’t had much good to say about the Cubs since Theo left his Sox.

    • Hawkeyegrad

      I don’t put any credence into what Gammons says but thinking through this if I’m Cespedes and the Marlins said they would pay “stupid” money to sign me, I might be inclined to say I prefer another team so they have reason to believe they might need to pay me some level of premium over that teams estimated offer in order to land him. I hope it’s not the case.

  • Rooster

    Please sign this kid and get it over with. I’m tired about reading Prince this and Prince that. 4th fattest contract for the fattest kid. Hate Tigers.

  • Rooster

    Gammons is another one that I could care less about. He’s a Cubs basher. If I hear one more “buuuuuuuuuut’ from him I’m going to puke.

  • Jeff L

    Honestly, I feel Darvish would have been a much better signing than Cepedes. I’m worried that the Cuban star can turn out to be a fukudome disaster. Funny thing is it seems like the contract would almost e the same around 10 mil a year.

    • Hawkeyegrad

      But you forgot about the $51 million they spent to negotiate with Darvish on top of his contract

      • Jeff L

        No I didn’t forget about that. Epstein paid about the same bid in Boston and should have done te same withy the Cubs. A 25 year old with that stuff and potential doesn’t come around very often, but it is a mute point now.

        • MichiganGoat

          Speaking for TWC it’s moot point not mute point.

          • BetterNews

            Ha! Got the imposter.

        • Matt

          Yes Jeff, spending over 100 million for a Japanese pitcher who pitches every 6 days, and bring him to a very different game to pitch every is not risky. How did that Dice-K signing you are referring to work out? Oh yeah, Dice-K had Tommy John… Yes spending 100 million is far better than spending at most 50 million with the track record of Japanese pitchers and their sustained success in MLB. The athleticism Cespedes has grows on trees. Probably just Ricketts again, being that cheap owner you always talk about. Did you know our attendance was 9th in the Majors last year? Did you know our payroll was 6th last year? That man is really cheap…

          • ferrets_bueller

            Lmao.  Nail, hammer…i believe you’ve met before.

          • BetterNews

            Matt-What the hell are you talking about! Attendance is not a problem at Wrigley.

            • MichiganGoat

              He’s being sarcastic, your humor radar is on the fritz.

          • Kansas Cubs Fan

            The sad thing is he will probably think you’re being serious.

            • ferrets_bueller

              ….or pretend he does, for the sake of the troll.

            • BetterNews

              Nah! I’m a pretty laid back kind of guy.

          • MichiganGoat

            He can’t be that cheap, I hear that Ricketts is replacing the urinal troughs with golden toilets.

            • BetterNews

              Ha!

          • Jeff L

            Ya Matt and guess what Dice K was an Epstein signing that helped result in a 2007 World Championship. I think it turned out just fine.

            • Matt

              Yep, his masterful Game 3 (10-5 game) was the reason they swept that series. I guess if we are just saying he is there is the reason they won, then hell I guess that was worth $100 MILLION. Hey, so how did you feel about the attendance vs. payroll? Remind you, that is with a crappy tv deal and no advertising. Can we leave the non-informed multiple times a day argument that our owner is cheap off of the board, because that couldn’t be further from the truth?

    • JustSwain

      The Darvish signing seems like a huge risk to me. I’m glad we stayed sane in our bid and let the Rangers go bonkers. In terms of total cost of contract, the Rangers are paying over 100 mil for five guaranteed years of Darvish, so around 20 mil a year, or what Tim Lincecum recently got per year for an extension (with three less years). Its one of the largest contracts ever handed out to a pitcher, and it goes to someone who has never faced ML hitting. That being said, I think shelling out 10 mil per year for a rookie like Cespedes is also bonkers. The footage I’ve seen of him features a long looping swing, which would need to be worked out, and at least one of those years would have to be spent working through the minors and adjusting. The possible upside reward to either of these players is staggering. The Rangers are probably in a position to take a risk, poised at the top and already strong, the Cubs on the other hand, seem like a team with nothing to lose. If we offer Cespedes serious money I hope it is because the FO team has seen something that makes them think he is a sure fire winner, and not because at this point in the Cubs rebuild they see it as worth the gamble.

  • JulioZuleta

    I think the contract numbers being thrown out here are in general, way high. The 6/$60 talk originated with the agent. Of course the agent is going to say they’re expecting something sky high. I think realistically the deal will be for 6/$42. The max I could see it being is 6/$51 ($8.5 per year).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In the last 10 years, it seems like every single highly-publicized free agent’s contract has surprised on the high side.

      • Jeff L

        I would say with Adrian Gonzalaz being the one exception. He signed a surprisingly low contract for his stats.

  • http://jjcubs jj

    I can’t believe the amount of people who as said in theo we trust and all the things he has done right but all of a sudden they don’t think he smart enough to figure how old cespedes is and how much money and years he worth, Just sit back and smell the coffee.

  • BetterNews

    I still don’t understand the Garza money mix up! If Garza requested 12 mil it should have reported as such. A mid point is only for club negotiations.

    • KCubsfan

      It got misreported it happens, get over it. It still doesnt change how much he did ask for.

      • MichiganGoat

        In today’s instant news it’s not surprising that information like this get misreported. It just takes one mistake and then everyone runs with, at least it only took a few days to get everything settled. It will happen again which is why have reliable sources is so important, but even they can make a mistake.

      • BetterNews

        KCub-I understand pople maymisteaks, but how how does the “media” miss that! Not only in Chicago, but nation wide! It’s mind boggling.

        • KCubsfan

          everyone was going off the same national report.

        • KCubsfan

          Are you more upset about the misreporting or what he asked for?

        • MichiganGoat

          It only takes one major journalist/news source to report the false information then everyone runs with it. Look at Penn State, one source reported Joe passes and everyone ran with it until the family came out and said it wasn’t true. My guess is one source heard or was told the miscalculation and everyone ran with it unti Garza’s agent said it was incorrect. It happens nothing to be concerned about.

          • oswego chris

            So MG, are you saying Paterno is still alive?…

            same island with Jim Morrison, Amelia Earheart and Tupac.

            • BetterNews

              Oswego-I don’t know what MG is saying, but I do know Paterno WAS buried today.

            • Kansas Cubs Fan

              A few nights ago on twitter CBS was saying he was dead. Then about an hour later a family member said it wasn’t true. The next day rolls around and he passed away.

               

              • MichiganGoat

                This. See how one report becomes a snowball of truth.

            • MichiganGoat

              Quiet don’t give away the numbers of that island 4 8 15 16 23 42 it might cause a battle and summon a smoke monster and a horrible finale.

              How many seconds before Brett’s MOAR is heard?

          • BetterNews

            Mg-I understand where you”re coming from. But how can public record be mistaken by so many?

            • oswego chris

              just a little chicanery on my part…I was just joking….sorry….back to Cub rants!….

  • Ryan

    Cubs sandwich first rd picks look like 43, 54 as of right now

    • BetterNews

      Yes, Brett reported that 2 days ago I believe.

  • 2much2say

    The Cubs payroll should be 150 mil +/- 10 mil. Adding as they go.
    Y Cespedes 8 mil per 2012 122 mil
    B Philips at 2nd. 12 mil per 2013 134 mil
    D Wright at 3rd 15 mil per or Olt = prospects 2013/2014 149 mil
    Cain/Ace SP 20 ml per 2013 169 mil – Dempster – Byrd = 149 mil payroll
    (OF C RP loaded)

  • 2much2say

    Ideal line up 2014 160 HR+
    1st Rizzo 25 HR
    2nd Philips 15 HR
    SS Castro 15 HR
    3rd Wright 25 HR
    LF Lahair 30 HR
    CF Cespedes 20 HR
    RF Jackson 20 HR
    C Castillo 10 HR

    • dude

      ^ thanks, I needed a laugh

      • Kansas Cubs Fan

        Dude, Sweet.

        • ferrets_bueller

          Sweet, dude.

          • Kansas Cubs Fan

            ZOLTAN

      • 2much2say

        That’s an awesome line up my friend.

        • KCubsfan

          the problem with it is that is a move the Hendry would do. It would also not help the pitching issue.

      • ferrets_bueller

        I dont know whats funnier, LaHair in LF! with 30 HRs!, or Phillips at 2B with 15.  Or, the word ‘ideal’ used in conjunction, lmao.

        • BetterNews

          I see LaHair hitting 20+homers.

        • BetterNews

          Problem with Lahair is Rizzo is knocking at the door! LOUD KNOCK,KNOCK

          • Cheryl

            I agree with the 20+ homers. What happens if he hits 30 and does well at defense at 1st? Is Rizzo still the first baseman of the future? What about Vogelbach?

            • BetterNews

              Cheryl-Great questions! Let’s see how it plays out. Lahair could be the man.

            • BetterNews

              But ALL experts in the “circle”(one might call it circus) say Rizzo is the man @ first.

            • KCubsfan

              If LaHair hits 30 the window for him to be that kind of player will be a short one. So they trade him for Pitching and other prospect they can use to build with. As for Vogelbache he is at least 3 to 5 years away so, they will worry about him when they have to. But it not a bad thing to have a back up plan in case something happens to Rizzo.

              • BetterNews

                I don’t know about that. Say Lahair does hit 30 homers and plays good defense as expected, the Cubs(Theo) have a major headache.

                • KCubsfan

                  Look at it this way most players start declining at around 31, well that will give you 3 yrs of top production from LaHair or 6 years of a good to great pitching prospects not to mention Rizzo for 6 yrs also. You have to look at it as long term, if he plays well and they cant get a trade they like put him in LF its not like they have a great Defensive LFer now.

                  • Rick Vaughn

                    Exactly. My pomeranian (Cubbie-cub) could play left field better than Soriano.

                    • KCubsfan

                      That was funny!

                    • Rick Vaughn

                      I wish I was kidding.

                • Rick Vaughn

                  How is Lahair being successful a headache? You could trade him for a prospect, or trade Rizzo for a couple of prospects. Sounds like best case scenario to me. Hardly a headache.

                  • BetterNews

                    Yes, but it’s the “decision” that can make Lahair a headache/nightmare. Make the wrong move, then what?

                    • Cheryl

                      And what if Vogelbach is terrific and within three years is in AAA, what then? With LaHair the timing is right if Vogelbach is for real. Both LaHair and Rizzo could possibly play LF. As of now, that doesn’t look like a possibility for Vogelbach. He’ll have to come up as a first baseman.And, what if Vogelbach is really, really good. Theo can’t possibly make the same mistake that Boston made eons ago with the Yankees. (This is taking that possibility to the ultimate end. But what if it is possible?)

                    • hogie

                      Cheryl, if Rizzo is raking as well then trade one. This is the same problem that the Reds had this year. They chose to keep the proven in Votto, which would be like us keeping Rizzo in your scenario. They could have gone in the other direction and gotten a haul of prospects for Votto and given Alonso the job. I guess it would depend on how close the team is at that point. This would be a great problem to have either direction you go, but I don’t think that if Rizzo is smashing and playing great defense at first that you force him to make a move to left, if he is willing that is another story though.

            • Kyle

              LaHair is a free agent after this season, and I don’t see the Cubs resigning him under any circumstances.

              If he does poorly, he’s waived when Rizzo gets his shot.

              If he does well, he’s traded for prospects when Rizzo gets his shot.

              If he does well but no one wants to give up a prospect for him, then he gets a hardy handshake at the end of the season and signs as a free agent with someone else next season.

  • 2much2say

    Philips is great top 3 2nd baseman. Wright should be a buy low, trade deadline candidate
    My starters Cain Garza Maholm Volstad Prospect Prospect

    • ferrets_bueller

      Phillips is not great, in any sense of the word.  He also is 30 and declining right now, in 2011.  He has never been a top 3 2B, at any point  in his career- even during his one year prime.

      David Wright is also not a buy low candidate.  In fact, an even better argument can be made that he is, in fact, still a sell high candidate.  While the change in park gets all the major press on him, anyone who actually has watched him in the last few years knows that that is not whats up- he’s a changed hitter, as a result of getting hit in the head.  He’s never recovered mentally, it completely changed his approach at the plate.  He will never be the same hitter,

  • 2much2say

    Lahair Aka 4A tore it up in AAA and played in left a few games.

  • KCubsfan

    Cain will never make it to FA. Wright will end up with the Yankees so, they can move ARod to DH. I very much doubt Phillips makes it to FA. Relying on FA is never a good idea, because they can always resign and then your4 screwed.

  • 2much2say

    Brandon Philips line 18 HR’s
    150 610 94 183 38 2 18 82 44 85 14 9 .300 .353 .457 .810

  • 2much2say

    Cashman vs Theo? I pick Theo to get Wright

    • KCubsfan

      With what? The Mets are going to want Pitching and a SS prospect. We dont have either and wait the Yankees have both. The Mets arent going to trade Wright for nothing and incase you didnt know, if Wright is traded this yr his 2013 team option becomes a Players option. So it could be one and done.

  • 2much2say

    Phlips already stated he is headed for FA

    • KCubsfan

      He will be 31 next year and the Cubs are no where near ready to win. Just let the new mangagement group do their jobs and it will work out. Dont try and force any thing or you get a Bradley Situtation again.

  • 2much2say

    Philips just won the Gold glove for 2nd base. What are you smokin? pass it
    Cano Kinsler then who?

  • 2much2say

    Lahair will be in LF either this year or next

    • BetterNews

      Could be.

  • 2much2say

    31 isnt old for a 2nd baseman and he is their only chance to upgrade through free agency.
    The Cubs have no future 2nd baseman, besides he would be the oldest Cub in 2013.

    • KCubsfan

      How do you know that? Trades can still be made and players in the system can have a brake through season. I am going to call this one before the season the Logan Watkins is going to be a sleeper this season.

  • BetterNews

    Now Cubs have plenty of money?

  • Tommy

    2:50AM post from a 12 year old on a weeknight. That’s odd.

  • CUB5

    I so want to see Castro rocking a Cubs jersey…

  • Ur Mom

    Rick Vaughn has a Pomeranian puppy!!! Aaahhhhh hahahahaha!!! You are so cute little Ricky with his little lap dog!!! Aaaahhhh hahaha!! You are just precious little Ricky.. :) in a perfect world, my dog Neo, an American bulldog pit mix, would eat your dog right in front of you.. Wouldn’t that be nice! Cubbie cub?? Lunchie lunch!!

    • http://aeonimaging.com Cubbie Blues

      Can you say you are ignoring the trolls while commenting you are ignoring them?

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