(Photo: Juan C. Rodriguez/Sun Sentinel)

As you may know by now, I’m a fan of parsing quotes to derive hidden meaning – or to, at a minimum, explain why initial interpretations aren’t always accurate with respect to what the person is actually saying.

I’m not sure how much I can do with this one.

After arriving in Miami late yesterday, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was greeted by the media, and offered the following:

“It would be good [to play here in Miami],” said Cespedes. “There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins.”

Yes, there could be gamesmanship there, or he could have been caught up in the swirl of excitement. And, yes, his desire to play for the Marlins doesn’t mean he’ll ultimately sign there (if they’re offering far less money, for example). But, like. Yeah. That’s a blunt statement.

The tea leaves have obviously started to point away from the Chicago Cubs.

The Marlins are meeting with Cespedes today, and the day may even end with an offer. At least one American League source says Cespedes to the Marlins eventually is going to happen. Cespedes is still awaiting his work visa from the United States, but he’s free to negotiate with teams and come to terms on an agreement in the meantime. He simply can’t yet execute a contract and work in the U.S.

If you’re still wanting Cespedes to come to the Cubs (as I am), you can probably glean some small sliver of hope from Marlins President David Samson’s comments yesterday about what he expects for today, and for an offer to Cespedes.

“We want him, but we don’t need him,” Samson told ESPN, likening Cespedes to the “cherry on the top” of their offseason. “The difference is this: When you want a player, you aggressively go out and try to sign him. When you need him, that’s when negotiations get very one-sided.

“There’s no question we’re aggressive in evaluating this player,” Samson added. “We think he’s a great player and he’ll be a great player. And we’re prepared to do something spectacular in my opinion. But it may not match what he thinks is spectacular. And it may not match what other teams are prepared to do.”

Samson – who has been extraordinarily open about his team’s pursuit of Cespedes (as the organization was with respect to, for example, Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes) – reminds us that even when a player wants to play for a certain team, and even when that team wants the player, sometimes it doesn’t work out, due to the realities of finance.

But it sounds like, if Cespedes needs a tiebreaker, living and playing in Miami during the season is going to be it.

It sounds like there’s still a fair bit of time left in the drama, though. The Orioles are still planning to scout Cespedes late next week in the Dominican Republic, so apparently they don’t believe he’ll be signing before then.

(The picture is from Cespedes’ arrival in Miami yesterday, as snapped by Marlins’ beat writer Juan C. Rodriguez. One thing is for sure: the dude clearly has swagger.)

  • CubsFanBob

    I have a real bad feeling about this guy hope we keep the money using it to sign soler

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The Cubs have the money to sign both.

      • Daniel Guerra

        Do they really have the money? I think we’re unsure at this point. I suspect they don’t have the money.

        Did you really think Cespedes was going to come to Chicago, a cold weather city? But I believe it will come down to money regardless. I don’t expect Theo and gang to become Hendry-like with money.

  • Bryan

    Stuff like this is troubling, but I think the reason it might seem so daunting is largely due to the Cubs side of things being silent. Theo and Jed have made quite the habit of being ridiculously quiet about FA type matters. Think about it: since they’ve come to Chicago, have they ever done anything remotely close to what Samson is doing here? You never hear a peep from them. I’m concerned, but not despondent.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      They’ve been like a fortress. But, the problem here is that the troubling quote is coming from Cespedes, not the Marlins…

      • Bryan

        From a logical standpoint, why wouldn’t he say that? All it does is give him more leverage with teams like the Cubs.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Like I said in the post, gamesmanship is always a part of the equation.

          • BetterNews

            Do you stand by that?

            • DocWimsey

              If Brett won’t, then I will: this sort of gamesmanship is always part of the equation when somebody has multiple options. Cespedes and his agents would be bigger fools if they dissed the Marlins or anything to do with them now.

              Conversely, the Marlins would be fools to make any statements other than “we want him, but we don’t need him.”

              • BetterNews

                Doc- Love to get a job with you. And I am serious!

  • steve

    Reminds me of Manny. I say “pass”. Who was it that said his price tag was going to exceed his talent?? I am leaning in that direction.

    • Tom B

      I’m starting to agree with Steve on this one…

  • pfk

    What I’m really amazed about is the fact anyone thought he’d go anywhere but Miami.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Why? We don’t know the money side of things, and there have been rumors for a long time that he explicitly DIDN’T want to play in Miami. I’m just saying, him not going to Miami was always a theoretical possibility. It still is.

      • pfk

        All very true. Given the veracity (or lack thereof) of the rumor mill and the realities of the situation, I never thought anyone but Miami would be his landing place.

    • Spencer

      Miami is really a better fit for him for a number of reasons. Can’t fault the dude for wanting to play there.

  • Spencer

    He looks kind of, uhm, bigger, than in the photo that you always see of him rounding the bases with blurry feet.

  • Deer

    Cubs will have to really overpay to get him. Ricketts should save the money and use it to pay off his debt, lowering future interest a bit. Might as well use it then let it sit in the bank, then maybe the Cubs don’t make that odd list of troubled franchise/highly leveraged organizations in trouble again.

    • CubFan Paul

      Ricketts doesn’t care about interest. he’s too rich for that

  • PKJ

    This is uncharted territory for sure. I mean, do we really have a comp for Cespedes demands? Has there ever been a foreign player nearing his prime who has signed for as much as he’s asking for?

    • Spencer


    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yu Darvish? :)

      Obviously very different players.

  • Sam

    I think that there is a reason why he said “Hopefully”. I think its safe to say that they may be his top choice right now, but I feel like he is going to talk to other teams before he signs a contract. And right now the only MLB facilities he has ever seen have been in Miami. Think about it, he has never been to the States before, he has never been to an MLB park before, its a new experience for him so he may have been a little bit overwhelmed. But I think its still too soon to rule out the Cubs, at the end of the day Cespedes is probably going to go with whoever is going to give him the most money, and hopefully that team will be the Cubs.

  • Eric

    How about this? He said “hopefully I can play for the Marlins” but not “I hope to play for the Marlins.” Grammatically, that means that he’s not the one who is hoping, just that the hope is out there, somewhere.

    He primed himself for this statement by reading his tattered copy of Strunk and White on the plane.

    • DocWimsey

      Hopefully his translator uses the same copy……

      • Eric

        I hope so.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      In theory, the “hopefully” that is out there floating in space could have been his own.

      • Eric

        I hope not.

  • Cliffy

    Brett, don’t you think the deciding factor will be money. The Marlins are backing away from their initial over the top statements regarding bidding on Cespedes.

    • CubFan Paul

      Definitely. Its always about the money and with all of miami’s offseason moves they’ve spent a lot/added to the 2012 payroll. Theo&Co have been shopping in the bargin bins all offseason with enough financial resources to outbid anyone in the international market (concepcion, baguert, martinez, del valle, negrin, cabezas)

  • ferrets_bueller

    Lmao, could he look like a bigger douche in that picture?

    As long as we get Soler, I don’t really care.

  • pfk

    I actually like that the Cubs are silent. They are just going about their work and in a media crazy city like Chicago, one false word and things get nuts and that can be detrimental. I have 100% trust in this front office. And 100% trust in believing that Ricketts is one shrewd dude. He’s already made a phenomenal return on the value of what he paid for the franchise. He’s rebuilding everything: minor league facilities, spring training facilities, allocating money to scouting and signing daft picks, buying up property around Wrigley, working to get money for the renovation of Wrigley and the Triangle building. Last, but surely not least, he went out and got the best damn front office in baseball. I’m happy to just sit back, relax and enjoy watching this all come together, which it surely will. This franchise is going to be a major factor in every race in a couple of years. A powerhouse – you watch.

    • mike foster


  • ferrets_bueller

    I think either Cespedes, or his agents, are very shrewd. First he says the Cubs are his biggest suitors, putting pressure on Miami, then he says things about Miami, and visits…all this is is his camp trying to drive the market up even farther. Who knows who is really in the lead, all this is is just price inflation tactics. Classic.

    • cls


  • B.J.

    Brett (or anybody else), any grumblings on what happens if the Cubs don’t land Cespedes (I hope they do)? Would the money “saved” make them more likely to absorb more Soriano salary in a trade? That’s just one example. But, is there a Plan B?

    • Brian

      I believe there is a plan B, C, D ect.. The old saying “slow and steady wins the race” popped into my mind and we will only see the brilliance of all of it when it happens.

      • B.J.

        I agree, and I believe there is a plan B, C, D, like you said. I just wonder if plan B is to be content going to Spring Training, and then into the regular season, with the way things are now, without Cespedes. Whatever the plan, I’m sure the Cubs have been pretty mum on what it is.

        • DocWimsey

          There really cannot be a “Plan B.” Opportunities like Cespedes come out of the blue once in a while: you get the guy or you don’t.

          • B.J.

            I think with this FO, there’s always a “Plan B”. In this case though, I guess that plan could be to simply do nothing.

          • Brian

            This FO is not flying by the seat of their collective pants. This business is ever evolving and I would guess they would have contingent “plans” put into place.

  • Dave

    Yes everything is looking better excpet for the product on the major league field.

    • yield51

      Yes but the FO and Ricketts cannot just throw money at that problem and fix it. Like pfk wrote above, improving facilities, allocating more funds to the draft/international signings, those are things that can instantly be improved by spending more. To (re)build the Cubs the right way you need to start at the very bottom of the organization. Over time we will see the M.L. product improve. I think the brass is doing a fantastic job thus far.

      • pfk

        I agree. Our ownership and front office is as good as it gets. And, for a life-long Cubs fan who is 64 and seen it all, this is a treat to behold. I’m amazed how the Chicago media is laying off them. Even the media knows they are watching, for the first time, the REAL DEAL.

  • baseballet

    Maybe Theo doesn’t think that that Cespedes is worth the expected salary he’ll get and is keeping quiet to help drive up the price for the Marlins.

    Where is Soler currently residing? Is it possible that Ricketts visited him while in the DR?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Soler is in the DR.

      • pfk

        Now Soler is a different story. He could indeed wind up with the Cubs. He is so young the Marlins won’t have him as a fan draw for a few years and they don’t have enough money or can’t justify enough money to out bid others for him. I’d lay better than even money the Cubs land him.

  • SouthernCub

    GOOD, Don’t want him. Too old for someone who’s never had competition above A ball. Get Soler who is realistically no older than 21 yrs old and save some cash in the process.

    • Chibs

      hahahah realistically no older than 21. Ive been thinking that the whole time. What’s the oldest these bastards could be? I could see Cespedes being as old as 33, I’d guess 30 or 31. I can’t see him being in his 20’s. Dead on on Soler, his age cap has gotta be right at 21. Similar with Concepcion’s international age cap.

  • BlueBlood23

    Could just be a language thing… Players generally make positive statements about organizations and the potential of playing for them when they make these types of visits. It happens in every sport and I think you can take it with a grain of salt… When he says “Hopefully I can play for the Marlins” that could simply translate to the same general staments all athletes make under similar circumstances… “Hey I really think we’re a great fit and they should pay me tons of money to come play for them”… If I had a nickle for every time something like this came up in sports and the guy didn’t sign with that team… Well I’d have at least $10 to $20… Which I’d be happy to donate toward a Cepedes signing! :)

  • DocWimsey

    Well, in my world, the last candidate interviewed is the one with the best chance of getting hired (all else being equal). This is switched: the prospective employee has multiple choices and the prospective employer has only one choice.

  • JulioZuleta

    LCubs top 20 list off Cubs.com:

    Few things that stand out:
    1. questionable list, especially #5-10.
    2. Click over to #11-20, Vogelbach is incredibly plump in that picture (reports are he’s lost anywhere from 30-60 pounds since then, though)
    3. I think this list was done by Jonathan Mayo, and he has it starting 1. Rizzo and 2. Jackson, which is confusing since he had Jackson at 33 and Rizzo at 37 in his top 100.

    • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

      Carpenter at 5 and Golden at 10… Interesting.

      Carpenter can throw 100 MPH out of the bullpen, but his control is not good. Unless that control shows up, he is not in the Cubs top 5 by a long shot. There are good reports from the AFL that his control improved, but I don’t think that’s enough put him this high. Regardless, he’s still my choice to go to the Red Sox as compensation.

      I like the potential on Golden, but I can’t slot him this high given that he hasn’t done much yet.

      Other that those two, the top 10 doesn’t look too bad. I like that someone else has Whitenack that high (I was starting to feel lonely).

      • JulioZuleta

        Carpenter at 5 is ludicrous. He’s going to be 27 this year, and a 27 year old reliever with control issues is closer to being a non-prospect than a top 5. I like Whitenack a lot, but the sample size and injury makes that too high for me. I just don’t get how a top ten can include Carp, Golden, Dolis, and Whitenack, but a guy like Rhee didn’t crack top 20.

        Personally, I struggle to see why Carpenter is so much higher than a guy like Zych, who’s 5 years younger and throws close to as hard with a solid slider. I like every guy he listed, I just disagree with the order. Who am I to say though? I always break my own rule of not arguing the “experts” lists.

    • http://Www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      If Whitenack didnt get hurt I could see it, but I would take a number of prospects in the 10-20 range over him now.
      Agree with the Carpenter ranking

  • 2much2say

    A Cuban would say Miami who? I know who the Cubs are but the Marlins?
    I want to be great so I play for Cubs!

  • chris margetis

    I took my first trip to Miami when I was 23 and I’ll always remember how awestruck I was by it, even coming from Chicago. I love Chicago as much as anyone (especially now living in L.A.) but I have to say, the first time you go to Miami, it’s an amazingly striking place and scene. Chicago is a place you where you really uncover the great parts as you go. In Miami, the best parts stick out like a sore thumb. I’m pretty sure a 26 year old guy, all things being somewhat close, is going to pick it over Chicago.

  • baseballet

    Is that pure muscle under that shirt or is Cespedes looking a little chunky?

    • 2much2say

      They said he was built like Byrd. Was that before or after his recent weight loss?

      • Chibs

        Or built like 40 yr old Manny?…at age ’26’?

    • Hrubes20

      Much like pre-diet Byrd, he seems to have a serious man-boob issue.

  • Noah

    Here’s my thing with Cespedes: if the Cubs sign him, I’ll be excited because he is a very high reward potential player. If another team signs him for a $40 million or more deal, I won’t be particularly upset either, though, because he’s also a high risk scenario. Now, if the Cubs don’t get EITHER Cespedes or Soler I might be a little upset.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s a fair approach (though, be warned: mathematically-speaking, whiffing on both is still the most probable outcome).

  • BetterNews

    Cespedes is full of himself. Reminds me of Sosa times 10!

  • Matt

    Well, if we don’t sign him the least we can do is drive up his price so the Marlins grossly over-pay.

    I too have a bad feeling about this guy, just not sure if it’s the “we get him and he sucks” or “someone else does and he’s an all-star in 2013” way.

    • BetterNews

      You have a right to feel bad about this guy. He unproven and just might plain bl@w!

  • Quintz

    All the evidence tells my brain that I should want this cat, but I have a weird gut feeling that I’m completely fine with it not happening. I know….worst post ever.

  • 2much2say

    if he turns into a Fukidome at 6/40+ would you take that? I don’t believe the crew is about to pull out all stops for an unproven, unseen prospect. If they are going to be meticulous then Soler appears to be more to the Cubs liking.

  • Adam

    I don’t understand spending $40-60M on an unproven 26 year old. If Cuban ball is equivalent to A or AA ball, I don’t see how you could spend that much on a guy like him. I really hope the Cubs choose to go in a different direction.

  • Cory

    Here’s hoping we get Soler and that Cespedes is 34 years old