Is Yoenis Cespedes becoming the next Prince Fielder? In terms of repeated discussion here at BN, that is. Maybe so. But, no matter, because there’s still more to say…

  • The timeline for Cespedes being unblocked and able to enter the United States and sign a contract is still somewhere around the next couple weeks. It could happen sooner, but Cespedes’ agent believes the Cuban outfielder will be able to join a team for Spring Training by the third week of February at the latest.
  • Cespedes’ agent, Adam Katz, also believes that his client is permitted to agree to terms with a team on a deal, he simply can’t yet execute the contract. I suspect that, as soon as he’s unblocked, Cespedes will sign a contract almost immediately. Subject to …
  • Bruce Levine believes┬áthat Cespedes is going to want to meet face-to-face with teams before making a decision, so it could take a few days post-blocking for him to sign. Fortunately, I’m guessing Cespedes has already met with Tom Ricketts on the owners’ visit to the Dominican Republic last week (though Cespedes hasn’t yet seen the facilities at Wrigley Field, which he could do once he comes to the States, and which might not help the Cubs’ cause). Levine also says he hears that┬áthe bidding could touch 6 years and $60 million, and that the Cubs and Marlins seem to remain the most interested teams. You’ll recall that, as of a month ago, Cespedes, himself, said the Cubs were his most aggressive suitor.
  • Wow: the Reds are reportedly trying to sign Roy Oswalt. Apparently, they’re really, really, really going for it in 2012 (not just really, really going for it, as previously believed). To make it happen on a one-year, $8 to $10 million deal, the Reds would have to move one of their starting pitchers, and the only one who is movable, and makes sense financially, is righty Homer Bailey.
  • The 25-year-old former top prospect is set to make $2.425 million in 2012, his first year of arbitration. Bailey’s numbers haven’t been great, or even good (he’s never topped a 93 ERA+), but he’s been up and down from the minors so much that it’s hard to know what he really has. His strikeout rate has generally been climbing, and his walk rate generally dropping, so he’d be the kind of player the Cubs would be interested in. Given the very crowded rotation, and the difficulties of dealing in-division (the surprising Sean Marshall trade notwithstanding), I’m not sure how involved the Cubs would really be. Given that the Reds have little leverage, and Bailey is soon going to make much more than he’s been worth, I don’t see his value as all that different than, for example, Chris Volstad’s.
  • The Yankees are having “serious discussions” with free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez to contribute in their DH hole. Why am I telling you this? Is it because there’s some contorted and ridiculous Alfonso Soriano connection? No. It’s because if Ibanez signs a Major League contract – as opposed to having to settle for a minor league deal – the Phillies get the 54th overall pick in the 2012 draft, bumping the Cubs’ compensatory pick for Carlos Pena down from 54 to 56 (the 55th pick is locked into place). Two spots isn’t a huge deal, but, hey, it matters.
  • The Yankees are also interested in former Bombers Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, so at least there’s a chance it won’t be Ibanez (or there’s a chance that Ibanez will have to accept a minor league deal to “beat” the other options). Ibanez is the oldest of the three, turning 40 in June.
  • The Pirates reportedly offered Edwin Jackson a three-year deal in the $30 million range, but he instead opted for the Nationals’ one-year, $11 million offer. He did that, presumably, both because he hopes to cash in after 2012, but also because the Pirates are probably going to suck. It makes you wonder if there were any other short-term offers out there from the Cubs that were rejected because, like the Pirates (indeed, probably more so than the Pirates), the Cubs are expected to suck in 2012.
  • JB88

    Brett, are you hearing anything on Soler at all? I know you have said the timeline on him was going to be greater than Cepedes, but I am still surprised there hasn’t been anything on him at all.

    Also, has there been any chatter about the effect the Sanchez arb ruling against Miami might have on Miami’s offer to Cepedes? I know their payroll isn’t close to approaching luxury tax territory, but I didn’t know if that ruling might have any impact on their willingness to pay huge $$ to Cepedes.

    • Andrewmoore4isu

      Not sure if you knew but Sanchez won and will get $8 mill next year. Hope that helps!

  • ogyu

    Perhaps the Cubs should make Obsespedes an offer payable in unobtainium.

  • Deer

    I worry that a face-to-face in Chicago may sway him to Miami. He’s never experienced cold like Chicago. Money matters and it appears the Marlins won’t be outbid. I’d be surprised if he chooses the Cubs.

  • JB88

    @joecapMARLINS – Yoenis Cespedes arriving in Miami today to meet with agent. Expected to meet with #Marlins tomorrow with a ballpark tour

    • hansman1982

      So he’s been released to visit the states?

      • JB88

        Not sure exactly the immigration ramifications, but I think being a resident of DR permits Cepedes to travel to the US. Difference is still that he will need to be approved by Dept. of State to receive a work visa.

        IOW, I don’t think Cepedes needs to be cleared to play before he visited the US.

        • hansman1982

          I guess I was under the impression that due to his country of origin status he would have to be cleared to even visit the states.

          • Luke

            Separate processes I believe. He can come to the states and meet with people on a standard tourist visa (easy and fast to get), but he can’t sign a contract without being cleared to work (longer and slower process).

            • Toosh

              That’s the way I understand it as well.

  • ferrets_bueller

    MLBTR has a great article looking at the trading of recent high draft picks, which features, not surprisingly, quite a lot of Theo.

    It pretty much, once again, reinforces something some of us have been trying to get through while discussing possibly Garza trades and the like- there are two classes of prospects. Recent high picks, and guys who have showed something in the minors at the AA/AAA level.
    You want to trade for the second class, while avoiding the first- even though those may be an organization’s ‘top prospects.’
    Look through the players listed in bold in the article, and tell me, how many failed miserably? A LOT.
    That is why I, for one, am so opposed to trading for a guy like Nick Castellanos, for instance- its a crap shoot. You cannot target single A players if you’re dealing Garza. You have to target higher level guys, which is why I initially was so supportive of the idea of dealing with Toronto.

    And, it also shows that Theo probably realizes this, as he was the main guy trading highly regarded, lower level prospects.

    • Matt

      I understand what you are trying to say, but that is different than what it would be like trading a proven player at the A level. Most of these players were 1st round picks, but they were already 2 years removed from being first round picks and very projectible to what they were ever going to be. There was really no trade on that list that surprised me how it was going to turn out other than the CC Sabathia/Matt Laporta trade (thought Matt Laporta was going to be a very good prospect, and the Justin Smoak to the M’s. I think it is too early to give up on him, but I looked at him in the same light as a Rizzo. Imo

  • OHBearCub

    I would take Homer Bailey. He has improved steadily this past year. He was thrown to the wolves so to speak his 1st year with so much hype in Cinci when there was no pitching prospect for them to have any hype about internally. Also remember he has been under the watchful eye of Dusty Baker! Should get the kid as many breaks as he deserves. Dusty could screw up a wet dream for the kid. Dusty routinely leaves him in too long and allows him to get pounded in last inning of work nearly every time out. I live in the Cinci market and get to begrudgingly watch the Reds a lot of nights I don’t get to see the Cubs on WGN. Unfortunately we don’t have an MLB package available in our market so I can get all the CSN games. Homer just needs to have the right pitching coach and manager he has all the tools in his bag. I think the Reds would be stupid to get rid of him but if “Jocketyitch” wants to send him our way in some fashion I would take him!.

  • OHBearCub

    Also …. Homer pitches in a less friendly park than Wrigley. Then wind seldom blows in off the Ohio River at Great American Ball Park. It’s an easy place to hit homers. That said I think Homer’s numbers could be even better in Wrigley with a better pitching coach and manager.
    He has had the benefit of having some good back stops to throw too. The Reds catchers have been pretty good IMO. I just feel the kid got a ruff way to go starting out his career with too high expectations from the media and then the fan base following suit. I think it was because he has a Throw Back Baseball Name that he got so much Not Needed attention to start his career. Homer Bailey isn’t as bad as Ty Cobb Jr. but it’s close. I unfortunately played with the Cobb’s in school ball and Legion Ball. They sucked… but boy did they have big heads…

  • ogyu

    You don’t tug on Superman’s cape,
    You don’t spit into the wind,
    You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger,
    And you don’t sign a pitcher named Homer.

  • Idaho Razorback

    Wow OHBearCub! I used to work with Ty Cobb’s grandson, Christopher.

  • rocky8263

    Telling someone it’s cold (that never experienced it) and walking out of the terminal at O’hare to twenty degree weather is a very different thing. My wife grew up in Spain and I still relish a really cold day just to see her face. . I don’t think the weather will determine his signing as much as the facilities will. New park, Hispanic manager, Ozzie is a charmer. Plus Ozzie has that new yacht parked beneath the stadium in the private channel they dug for him. Miami hands down.

  • OHBearCub


    Played with Ty Jr. And Todd in Indiana and Northwest Ohio. Auburn Indiana …

    • cjdubbya

      Auburn? Nice to see someone reference DeKalb County. Was a sportswriter in that area a few years back, covered many backroads around there.