Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins are aggressively pursuing soon-to-be free agent Yoennis Cespedes. The Nationals have been in the market for a center fielder for some time now, and the Marlins provide a city to play in that is full of Cuban culture. Beyond the Marlins and Nationals, Carfado says the Phillies, Cubs, Red Sox and Yankees are all in on Cespedes. The Tigers and White Sox have also been tied to Yoennis this offseason.
As Cespedes is reportedly nearing residency in the Dominican Republic, he is expected to hit the free agent market sometime in January. Cespedes’ representation has said that he will be with a major league team when spring training rolls around.
The Nationals have money to spend this winter, and they have been seeking an athletic center fielder that can handle the bat. While Cespedes may eventually have to move to a corner outfield spot, many scouts believe he can man center for at least a few seasons.
The Marlins have also shown a willingness to spend big this offseason, a new experience for fans of the franchise. In addition to their abnormally deep pockets, Miami would offer Cespedes an easier transition to the States as it is known for its strong Cuban culture.
Official bidding on Cespedes is still a few weeks away, but many expect Yoennis to draw a contract greater than that of fellow Cuban native Aroldis Chapman. The Reds gave Chapman $30 million back in January of 2010.
However, we did learn this weekend that several teams, including the Marlins, Yankees and Red Sox, are divided on Cespedes. Though his talent is undeniable, many feel that Cespedes may be too raw to command such a contract or may not be able to handle the transition to a large market.
But, not only do many expect Cespedes’ payday to outreach Chapman’s $30 million, it has been rumored that Yoennis’ new deal could double that figure. Many have Cespedes’ contract falling into the $35-60 million range.
It will be interesting to see who remains interested in Cespedes if his price tag reaches such lofty totals.
You can check out all of the available free agents by position below.