The lastest from the rumor mill to round out your week…

  • Newly-minted free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes remains the big story, with the Cubs consistently mentioned among his leading suitors. Kevin Goldstein still has the Cubs as the leader, and now so does Jim Bowden. Keep in mind, even if the Cubs are the “leader,” that doesn’t mean they have any better than a 50/50 chance of landing him. Lots of teams are involved.
  • Other than the Cubs, we know a number of teams are in on Cespedes, including the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, and a mystery team or two. I also reported Wednesday night (on Twitter) that, despite the Prince Fielder signing, the Tigers are not out of the running for Cespedes, and might bid aggressively. Danny Knobler reported the same yesterday, and GM Dave Dombrowski remarked last night that the Tigers were “most likely” out on Cespedes, “but you can never tell.” Indeed: Dombrowski was saying the same thing about Prince Fielder not days before they signed him. And you believed him when he said he wasn’t interested in Matt Garza? Pfft.
  • Speaking of those other suitors, an interesting article from the Orioles’ side notes: “The Orioles will stay active in scouting Cespedes. The team plans to send a contingency to watch Cespedes when he plays for Aguilas in the Carribean Series, which opens a week from today in the Dominican Republic.” I wasn’t aware that Cespedes was going to play in the Carribean Series (there were reports that the reason he stopped playing for Aguilas last week is because he’d established residency, and MLB teams asked him to stop playing), and the implication is that Cespedes wouldn’t be signing until after it (otherwise, why would the Orioles be planning to watch him in it?). I’m not reading too much into it yet.
  • One strange twist to the Cespedes story: an MLive article notes that Cespedes’ agent is accepting sealed bids for Cespedes through MLB, and then teams will have a chance to increase their offer later. Sound strange? That’s because this process hasn’t been reported anywhere else, to my knowledge. I tried to follow up with the author to clarify, but haven’t yet received a response. Cespedes is a true free agent – not a player being posted, as from Japan – so he and his agent can solicit offers however they want. I suppose it’s possible they could use this kind of procedure, but if they are, I’m surprised no one else is reporting it. Again: not reading a ton into it yet.
  • Cuban lefty pitcher Gerardo Concepcion, an 18-year-old free agent in whom the Cubs are interested, could sign as soon as this weekend. His agent says he already has multiple offers on the table, and, if not this weekend, will probably sign by next week.
  • Free agent outfielder Kosuke Fukudome may have to head back to Japan, though he’d prefer to find a job in the States.
  • The A’s bumped 24-year-old utility player – and former top prospect – Adrian Cardenas from their roster this week. With the Cubs still theoretically looking to add someone who can back-up at both shortstop and second base, he might make some sense (I’ll concede, I know nothing of his defensive ability short of the fact that he did, indeed, play some shortstop and second base last year). He has decent minor league numbers, and doesn’t turn 25 until October. He’ll get a look from a number of teams unless there’s some hidden flaw.
  • UPDATE: Julio, in the comments, notes that Kevin Goldstein last evening via podcast predicted Cespedes to the Cubs on a contract totaling just under $40 million. It’s nice to hear predictions and guesses that go your way.
  • rbreeze

    Guys like Theriot and Barney are fine as starters as long as the rest of the team is strong.

  • ogyu

    RT @ESPNChiCubs: Bud Selig: “the compensation issue for Theo Epstein is in my lap”

    Ummm, too much information…

    • Stinky Pete

      Bud Selig: “the compensation issue for Theo Epstein is in my lap” Ew. Hope his Depends don’t leak on it.

  • Tommy

    Cespedes Update: According to the letter that MLB sent to teams, there still is one more step for Cespedes to officially sign, which is that he needs to obtain an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Until then, teams are allowed to negotiate with Cespedes’ representatives but have been instructed “not to enter into agreement” until he gets unblocked. So he is a free agent and eligible to negotiate with MLB teams, but he still needs to get his unblocking license before the contract can be consummated.

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