Yoenis Cespedes Is Officially A Free Agent


The Chicago Cubs have had an interesting off-season. While the team has seen a lot of turnover from end of the 2011 season, the Cubs have gone the entire off-season without making a big-ticket move. While that is what got the previous front office regime in trouble, the consensus is that President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is interested in those type of moves. Though, there is no flaw in the way Epstein has handled the Cubs’ off-season. The Cubs’ outlook for the future looks much brighter with prospects with the stature of Anthony Rizzo now a part of the Cubs’ organization.

While Epstein has shied away from spending “big money” on the likes of Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and Prince Fielder; the Cubs’ president of baseball operations is apparently willing to spend the money necessary in order to land the best free agent currently on the market.

With Prince Fielder signing with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes now becomes the best free agent available. Ironically, Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday which consequently makes him an official Major League Baseball free agent. Cespedes has been playing winter-ball in the Dominican Republic, but Cespedes has since left his D.R. team as he begins his preparation for a transition to Major League Baseball. While there have been many teams linked to Cespedes, there are only two teams that should really be watched in the Cespedes’ sweepstakes. Those two teams are the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs. While there have been at least a dozen teams to scout Cespedes at some point this winter, the general consensus is that the Marlins and Cubs are widely ahead of other teams in their pursuit for Cespedes.

The Marlins, who signed Jose Reyes but failed to sign Albert Pujols, have already admitted that they make an aggressive pursuit for Cespedes. However, Cespedes admitted that the Cubs have been the team to register the most interest in him. Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod all flew to the Dominican Republic in November to get a first-hand look at Cespedes.

The expectation is that Cespedes will receive at least $30 million in the contract that he signs with a Major League team. The Cubs have more than enough financial flexibility to sign Cespedes. The question would be how does Cespedes fit into the Cubs’ future? Cespedes would be a big piece to the Cubs’ long-term future. While Cespedes will receive a multi-year contract that is worth at least $3o million, the outfielder is going to need some seasoning with the Iowa Cubs before being ready to play on an everyday basis at the Major League level. When Cespedes is ready for the Major Leagues, he would provide the Cubs with the dynamic offensive player to go hand-in-hand with shortstop Starlin Castro. Cespedes projects as a center fielder, so if the Cubs were to sign him, that may increase the chances of Marlon Byrd being dealt at some point before opening day.