What it will take to sign Cespedes

The tools and the talent of Yoenis Cespedes are not in dispute.

Where there are reservations over the Cuban-born outfielder is his cost and readiness to play immediately in the big leagues.

According to a league source familiar with his status, the asking price for Cespedes could be double that of Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban pitcher with the Reds.

In January of 2010, Chapman signed a six-year deal worth $30.25 million. Cespedes, the source said, could be seeking more than double Chapman’s salary over eight years. Technically, no negotiations can take place until after he is declared a free agent.

The Marlins recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to attend a private workout for Cespedes, the 26-year-old who defected from Cuba in the summer. The Red Sox, Cubs and Yankees are among the teams with interest.

The Marlins see Cespedes as a center fielder, while Boston is looking at him in right field.

There also is uncertainty on when Cespedes will become a free agent. Insiders say it could be two more weeks or two more months.

Right now, he is in the process of gaining residency in the Dominican Republic. Once that happens, it shouldn’t take long for him to be declared an MLB free agent. It’s a matter of filing paper work.

The longer Cespedes waits to sign with a club, the more it hinders his ability to be game ready for the 2012 opener.   He hasn’t played competitive baseball since he left Cuba.

If he can be signed before mid-December, he could play Winter League ball, which would help him be prepared to compete for an Opening Day roster spot in Spring Training.

Joe Frisaro

 

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