The biggest free agent remaining on the market is now officially in play for all teams, and the Marlins have struck first making the highly touted Dominican a 6 year, $40MM offer. Cespedes made his way to the United States last week on Thursday, and met with the Marlins. At that time Marlins president David Samson said that it was possible that the Marlins would make an offer to Cespedes at said meeting, apparently that’s exactly what happened.
For all the other teams that might be in the running for Cespedes this doesn’t necessarily expedite the process as he can’t officially
sign a contract until he is unblocked by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As far as I know, there hasn’t been a timetable set for that, but Katz would like to have Cespedes in a major league camp by the end of February, as I’m sure the team that signs him would as well. The Marlins while the first to make an offer, still have their concerns about the slugger, as any team would. Ozzie Guillen offered his take on the situation when he was in Chicago last week.
“We went to the Dominican Republic, myself and 10 guys,” Guillen said. ” We went to see this kid. He’s pretty impressive. They compare this kid with a lot of people. They compare this kid with Bo Jackson. Well Bo Jackson wasn’t a baseball player. This kid is a baseball player. They compare him with (Raul) Mondesi. I think Mondesi was better than him. That’s my own opinion. Mondesi has a better arm, faster, but this kid is pretty good
Cespedes was rumored to get around a 6 year $60MM offer from the Marlins, obviously the Marlins are treading lightly here because they shaved $20MM from that offer. Guillen continued.
“There are a lot of question marks out there,” he said. “How’s he
going to handle major league pitching? We don’t know. How’s he going to handle major league media? We don’t know. There are a lot of ifs. Whoever signs him is gambling.”
Guillen does like Cespedes’ confidence, which is rather thru the roof,
“I saw him say something yesterday: ‘I’m not coming to the United States to play in the minor leagues.’ Well, that thing can go either way. I don’t blame the kid. But people don’t look at that as the right answer. To me it’s the right answer: ‘I come here to play in the big leagues.'”
To hear a major league manager say that this would still be a gamble should give everyone something to think about. It most definitely is a gamble, by signing him to a 6 year deal could really restrict a team if it doesn’t work out. Also, there is no telling how much that statement (about playing in the majors) from Cespedes is a show, and how much of it is truth, but if a team is going to commit to this kid for 6 years and that kind of money it makes sense that he would play in the big leagues. Hoyer’s take on Cespedes is a simple one, he needs minor league at bats, at least a 100, now I don’t know if that will change based on the desire Cespedes has to play right away, odds are it won’t. If that’s the case, that might take the Cubs right out of it, but I have no doubt that Hoyer and Epstein will do their due diligence and investigate every option to sign Cespedes to their terms.
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– George Cotugno