Earlier this week we learned that Cuban-defector Yoennis Cespedes is close to being granted residency in the Dominican Republic. While this still puts him a few weeks away from hitting the open market, Cespedes’ representation believes the 26-year-old will become a free agent sometime in January. Cespedes has already created quite a buzz this offseason, and the rumors only figure to increase as he approaches free agency. While more major league clubs have expressed interest in Cespedes than not, it appears that the Marlins, Tigers and White Sox could be the early favorites to land the slugger.
The field of suitors for Cespedes is hardly narrowing, as almost every major league team has checked in on Yoennis at some point this offseason. Still, several clubs appear to be more heavily tied to Cespedes than others.
The Miami Marlins have been considered a likely landing spot for Cespedes from the start. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com hears from several sources that the Marlins are the early favorites to sign Cespedes. While the Marlins have shown a willingness to spend this offseason, Miami is also home to a strong Cuban culture which could make the adjustment to the States easier for Cespedes.
Another team that Knobler said is expected to make a “strong” push for Cespedes is the Chicago White Sox. Knobler notes that the White Sox have had recent success with Cuban players such as Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo and could look to add Cespedes to their list. While the White Sox have been rumored to be in rebuilding mode this offseason, they did just extend starting pitcher John Danks.
Another team that has been frequently tied to Cespedes this offseason is the Detroit Tigers. General manager Dave Dombrowski and his staff made the trip to the DR to watch Cespedes, and many analysts don’t believe this should be taken lightly. The Tigers are known to covet Cespedes, and Detroit has shown a willingness to expand its budget for what they consider to be the right player.
Beyond the Marlins, White Sox and Tigers, the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Orioles and Rangers have all shown interest in the slugging center fielder.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.