Obsessive Yoenis Cespedes Watch: It Could Be Another 7 to 10 Days

In truth, following 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes became an Obsessive Watch weeks ago.

  • Although Cespedes is free to negotiate with teams at this point, as has been discussed, he’s still waiting on clearance to come Stateside and work. It is expected soon, and it, alone, is not expected to hold things up. To that end, Cespedes’ agent Adam Katz says he is expecting Cespedes to sign in him to join his new team at Spring Training. “We are aware of the [Spring Training] dates,” Katz said. “We expect him to be in camp with one of the clubs.” Even though Cespedes is not expected to make a team out of Spring Training, his team is still going to want that time with him – and he’s going to want that sliver of a chance to make a big league team right away.
  • Jim Bowden adds that Cespedes, himself, will be travelling to the States in about 7 to 10 days for face-to-face meetings with teams. If that’s planned, I’d think offers would be in place by then (if they aren’t already), and the meetings will be about additional “selling” Cespedes on the organization, and about getting a final feel for the player teams are offering to spend so many millions on. Positional players report to Spring Training – for the Cubs, at least – by February 23, so there won’t be much of a window for additional negotiations if Cespedes isn’t going to sign for 7 to 10 days, but is going to sign within 23 days.
  • Bowden says there are about six teams hot and heavy on Cespedes, and five of them are the Cubs, White Sox, Marlins, Tigers, and Orioles. No real surprises there.
  • For those who remain skeptical about Cespedes’ talent or value, Baseball America’s Jim Callis wants to clear up any confusion. Callis calls Cespedes “a center fielder with well above-average power and speed” who ranks as a 70 overall on the 20-80 scouting scale, and adds that Cespedes’ risk of busting at a “medium.” That combination makes Cespedes a top 15 prospect in all of baseball, and as high as number 7 overall. He would easily be the Cubs’ top prospect.

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

69 responses to “Obsessive Yoenis Cespedes Watch: It Could Be Another 7 to 10 Days”

  1. Steve

    It just occured to me. This kid has never played in weather remotely close to Chicago April – May. Lake Michigan wind is like a razorblade. That’s a chillin thought….

    1. fearbobafett

      Good point but with the exception of the Marlins, all the teams looking at him have similar weather early in the season.

    2. JulioZuleta

      could cause problems in future years, but he probably won’t be up until mid May or June. It’s going to be nice, just around the time we are out of contention, Rizzo, Jackson, and maybe Cespedes will come up and reinvigorate us.

      1. CubFan Paul

        maybe mcnutt or rusin or a surprise pitcher too once dempster & garza go at the deadline

      2. rcleven

        Won’t be much warmer in Des Moines, IA in spring.

        1. Katie

          Amen, and Des Moines is windier than Chicago as well.

  2. fearbobafett

    Tigers do they really have the cash for another longer term deal that he is looking for?

    Marlins – Hope the reports that he doesn’t want to play there are true and that the marlins don’t blow away everyone else with thier offer.

    Orioles – Unless it is all about the money why do you want to play there?

    White Sox – makes sense, but they may be hurting for money.

    Cubs – still seems like the logical landing spot, but then again Fielder seemed like the logical fit when the off-season started.

    Still am holding out hope that we can get a trifecta of Cubans.

    1. JulioZuleta

      Kenny Williams made a comment that their payroll is set. They would probably need to move Floyd if they get Cespedes.

    2. @bobbleheadguru

      Biggest threat? The Tigers.

      They have the cash. They took Maggs and Guillen off their roster at the end of 2012. Both Salaries? $23M. Insurance on VMART? $10M. Total savings from all three: $33M.

      Cost of Fielder in 2012? $23M…. They are actually AHEAD by about $10M… of course Verlander and other salaries have gone up, but they really did not break the bank in 2012 for Fielder.

      They are realistically looking at a 500,000 increase in attendance 2011 to 2012, due to their playoff run and of course, Fielder: Net revenue increase with more fans: 500K * $50/fan = $25,000,000… and that is before merchandise sales.

      Also, Mike Illitch, Tigers owner, has basically footed the bill for Fielder outside of their normal budget.

      It seems like if the Tigers like Cepedes, they will get Cepedes. Only scouting “red flags” will prevent them from pulling the trigger…. or if Cepedes flat out does not want to come north… which would put the Cubs in the same boat as the Tigers.

  3. ferrets_bueller

    *time. :P

  4. North Side Irish

    I’m finding the whole Cespedes pursuit story to be really interesting. On all the different baseball sites I read (sorry Brett, I do read other blogs), it seems like scouts love his tools, GMs are excited about his potential, and fans do not want their team to sign him. It’s actually sort of funny to me how many fans are sure he’s going to be a bust based on 35 ABs in the winter league. And he may be a bust, but I’d rather see my team trying to improve the talent in their system than being scared to take a chance on someone with his tools.

    1. Kyle

      I was pretty down on him when it first started coming out. In recent weeks, some of the analysis I’ve read has turned me. Cuban players have a pretty good history of coming to the United States and doing well, including some immediate jumps to the big leagues. The statistical projections look pretty good.

      He’s not going to be a superstar, but I expect a solidly above-average overall outfielder.

      1. rcleven

        If he turns out as projected I’m in. Last chance to bolster a minor league system without penalty. Scouts were pretty right on with Alexei Ramirez, though it took until his third season to adjust to the league.

  5. Cubsin

    Signing Cespedes might also slightly improve the Cubs’ chances of signing Soler, since he’d be relatively sure of having at least one Cuban teammate if/when he reaches the big leagues. The Cubs have already signed a Cuban OF to play along side him in the minors.

  6. Quintz

    I feel like it’s apples and oranges. I understand the dude defected, so his late arrival is not his fault. But, to rank a “26″ year old who has been playing competition below his talent level (I think they say it’s like A+ ball) to the 18-23 year olds here seems almost impossible. Not judging him either way, maybe he’s way better than Callis’s speculation. Just not really buying the comparison between him and prospects who go the conventional route.

    1. Quintz

      ….Don’t get me wrong I’d be the happiest moron in the world if we signed him.

  7. Edgar

    He kinda reminds me of a bigger Corey Patterson. I would be happy if he signs but I think he will reach the potential scouts are talking about.

  8. Daniel Guerra

    I’d be shocked if the Cubs end up bidding high for cesPEDes. One, the Cubs are in rebuilding mode and Cespedes is a fix me up with a MLB center fielder next year. Two, the Cubs don’t have the cash to spend. Three, the Cubs don’t want to spend that kind of cash right now. Four, we still have Byrd and he’s apparently the 9th best center fielder in the game (Ha, he’s not in the top 10 of center fielders in my opinion).

    Ok, so you say the Cubs have “Shown interest” in Cespedes. The scouts are just doing there jobs. Do you rather have the scouts talk to some baseball player in Europe who has no chance of making it into the Big game?

    1. Brian

      Who says the Cubs don’t have the money to spend? And, Cespedes, himself said that the Cubs have shown the most interest in him from the beginning.

      1. Daniel Guerra

        Brett wrote an excellent article on the Cubs money situation. http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/01/18/the-cubs-might-not-have-as-much-money-left-for-2012-as-we-think/

        Ok, so you say the Cubs have “Shown interest” in Cespedes. The scouts are just doing there jobs. Do you rather have the scouts talk to some baseball player in Europe who has no chance of making it into the Big game?

        1. Brian

          Has anybody on this board heard first hand that the budget is X and not to exceed Y? The new CBA deal also changes how money will be allocated.

    2. Matt

      When you can bring in players with the upside of Cespedes with only money involved, it isn’t that hard to jump all in. Right now the money we have saved towards free agent spending has went towards trying to sign 3 Cubans. This offseason has kept us around the 120 million mark. We will spend money to get Cespedes and Soler.

      1. loyal100more

        i like the way you think matt. its like were at the casino and we have money to play with… the only way to come up is to get your game on and go with the best odds. i think with the new cba and the fact that this guy has alot of potential you go all in. we certainly went all in on fukudome. you gotta have some guts but going with the odds here there is a chance of a significant turn out…. cha ching jackpot? we’ll never know unless we go to the casino and bring our $$$!!

      2. Daniel Guerra
    3. Jim

      It’s more than the scouts just doing their job. Theo and Jed went down to the DR to see this kid, the Cubs are a little more than just showing interest.

      1. Daniel Guerra

        Please provide your sources. I haven’t read anything that mentions that Theo and Jed personally went to DR only to just talk to Cespedes. I can see them going down there to see how the Cubs system was operating and to meet certain people in the organization.

        1. CubFan Paul

          try espn or here. Theo, Jed & the clan mcCloud all went to the DR to see cespedes workout & meet him

  9. Smitty

    It has been mentioned that some of the teams pursuing him are set/lacking flexibility to their payroll. My question is, if he starts out in the minors, does his contract go on the major league payroll as it concerns to the luxury tax, etc. I realize that the Cubs pay all the contracts for even the kids in Boise, I’m just wondering how it does effect the major league contract.

  10. Kyle

    “We are talking about something extremely different here somehow.”

    You appear to be counting home runs in BABIP. I don’t know of anybody who calculates it that way. Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs both calculate it by what I know as the traditional way: Excluding home runs as well.

    But yeah, including home runs makes everything you’ve said about BABIP in the past make a *lot* more sense. I’m glad we figured that out :)

    1. DocWimsey

      We seem to spend a lot of time disagreeing about the fact that we actually agree…..

      Oh, and I typed the prior post before reading that one. Yeah, excluding HR explains the difference, and I see why you do it for FIP. It never occurred to me to do that for HR becuase, well, they are in play! Just make your OFers jump higher, right? ;-)

      Do this, and speedsters jump to the top. Bonifacio, Bourne and Young are at the top. However, AGonz and Avila round out the top 5, too.

  11. jim

    SIGN him!

  12. Kyle

    “So, general question: why is it that BABIP excludes home runs? I mean, from a theoretical standpoint, what’s the rationale for excluding it? What does BABIP do *better* than BAGC?”

    BABIP is the part of hitting that is least influenced by the hitter himself. There’s a lot of defense and luck involved in it.

    So when a hitter is doing everything else (walking, K-ing, homering) at about the same pace he always has, but has a singificantly different BABIP, it’s a safe bet that he’s experience some unsustainable variance and will be back to his normal self in the immediate future.

    Hitters have a little more control over BABIP than pitchers do, but there’s still a ton of variance involved.

    1. DocWimsey

      Right, and given that BABiP initially came into discussion when talking about Fielding Independent Pitching, the makes perfect sense because it is trying to assess what happens when a hit ball might be fielded.

      And, as Kyle mentions, BABiP also can be useful for batters because if a guy has an unusually high or low one in 2011, then chances are good that his overall BA will regress to “average” in 2012 even if his K rate and HR rate remain the same.

      However, BAGC might be more useful for projecting slash-lines because HR contribute to all three elements and the guys who hit a lot of HR in 2011 are good bets to hit lots of HR in 2012. I’m sure that someone has worked out how to do this already.

    2. Norm

      Home runs aren’t included because the defense doesn’t have a chance to field it.
      -
      BABIP is another way of asking “What % of the time does a ball in play fall for a hit?”

  13. Jeff L

    The question I have to ask everyone here: Is Cespedes another Kosuke Fukudome? I know one is from Cuban and one is from Japan. Their makeup is different, but you may not remember-
    Fukudome was a power hitter in Japan with similar numbers to Cespedes. His last full year in Japan was a 351 average 31 homers and 104 RBIs.
    Cespedes last year 333 average 33 Homers and 99 RBIs.
    Fukudome signed with the Cubs for four year 48 Mil…. About 12 Mil a year

    Cespedes is asking for around the same amount of money… maybe a little more maybe a little less. Is the Cuban league tougher or easier than Japans league? I generally think it’s safer to go after a known mlb commodity than a talent from overseas.

    1. Kyle

      I’m still not entirely clear on why Cubs fans are convinced Fukudome was a bust.

      He was a perfectly fine player. Maybe paid a bit too much at $12 million/year and didn’t quite live up to the hype, but still an above-average starting corner outfielder.

      If Cespedes is another Fukudome, we need to jump right on that bandwagon and get ourselves a bargain.

      1. BetterNews

        Kyle-He was a perfectly fine defensive player.

        1. MichiganGoat

          No Barney is a fine defensive player, Fuk is a better hitter.

          1. BetterNews

            Compared to whom @ 12mil? Barney makes minimum.

          2. BetterNews

            I hope I never see another player with a “helicopter” swing! Could have spent his contract money on a couple of actual helicopters.

      2. Luke

        I blame the hype. I think too many people that the Cubs were getting Ichiro with power, and that just wasn’t his game.

        That and he slumped pretty badly in the second half of his first season. I’ve noticed, though, that a lot of players tend to struggle in their season or so playing in Wrigley. It seems to take a couple of months for most players to get acclimated and start producing back at their career averages. I haven’t dug into the numbers enough to know if there is any substance to that observation, and if there is if it is league wide or just with the Cubs.

      3. Jeff L

        lol Fukudome not really great numbers for a corner outfielder 263 13 homers and 64 rbis… His best year in the majors…. his last year a total of 8 homers and 260 average and 35 ribs… and making 12 mil a year…. best homer year is 13 homers after hitting 33 homers in Japan….. Makes you think what does the future hold for Cespedes who had extremely similar numbers in his last season in Cuba

        1. Kyle

          You ignored OBP, which is kind of important and something Fukudome excelled at.

  14. Elwood

    Fukudome was an All-Star caliber player… from April to June. He was a borderline bench player from July to September. Add solid defense and good arm and you have a Cody Ross-type player. Good enough to be in the majors, but not good enough to start.

    If Cespedes is ANYTHING like Fukudome, I would want the Cubs to pass on him. But, I think (KNOW) the Cubs braintrust is better than the one that scouted Fukudome. If we get him, great!