We’ve mentioned before that you should get to know the name Yoennis Cespedes (or Yoenis depending on who is reporting on him) because he is set to be one of the more intriguing free agents in all of baseball this winter. Now we’re starting to learn more about him and it looks like he could command as much as $50 million on the open market.
Cespedes is a Cuban defector who is a 26-year-old, five-tool center fielder. He is all set to establish residency in the Dominican Republic later this month and should be granted free agency by Major League Baseball shortly thereafter. After several workouts and visits with teams, it looks like Cespedes has been impressing everyone. So much so that the parameters of a deal with him are likely to be within the $35-50 million range.
The Red Sox will have Cespedes in for a workout this weekend, and the Cuban star is reportedly preparing as if he will play in the big leagues in 2012. Most teams agree that he’ll be ready to contribute at some point next season, meaning he won’t have to be groomed in the minors for a long period of time.
Several other teams are hot on the trail of the Cuban YouTube sensation (the video has since been taken down but you can read someone gushing over it at that link).
The Detroit Tigers are interested in Cespedes because they believe he is a candidate to lead off. The Miami Marlins were supposedly the favorite to land the Cuban star early in the process, but that talk appears to have cooled. Meanwhile the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics and Pittsburgh Pirates are all expected to make bids for his services.
In 90 games in Cuba last season Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs, 99 RBI and 89 runs with a .424 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage.
The scouts I’ve talked to are drooling over his raw tools and they expect him to be an impact bat that could begin to pay off as early as next summer.