HOUSTON,TX- APRIL 9 : Greg Dobbs #29 of the Florida Marlins hits a three-run home run in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in a MLB baseball game on April 9, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Marlins won 7 to 5 . (Photo by Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images)
• Best. Marketing. Ever: ESPN.com's Enrique Rojas, in an article entitled, "Rep says Cuban OF nearing residency", reported Monday night that Edgar Mercedes, Yoenis Cespedes' representative, was confident that the 26-year-old hero and soon-to-be-international-free agent outfielder's residency in the Dominican Republic could become official this week. Once that first hurdle is cleared, as Baseball Prospectus writer Kevin Goldstein too wrote yesterday in an article on Cespedes entitled, "Exclusive First Look: Yoenis Cespedes Encore", there are two more steps before the hard-hitting Cuban outfielder is available to the highest bidder amongst major league teams in the market for a potential outfield bat. At some point in January MLB teams can begin pitching agent Adam Katz on the reasons Cespedes should join their respective organizations...
The Baseball Prospectus' article is more a review of the outfielder's latest promotional video (in which Cespedes is spotted wearing a Washington Nationals cap), but as Mr. Goldstein notes, care is taken to show representatives from the Marlins, Phillies, Red Sox, Cubs and Tigers are present at the workouts/showcases he's held as he establishes his residency and awaits confirmation that he's bound for the majors. And, of course, the Yankees are interested, of course. Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo has seen Cespedes in person, and the Nats have scouted the outfielder extensively as the general manager explained in a recent MLB Network Radio interview, but aside from the visual "clue" in the video they aren't being mentioned as suitors for Cespedes much any more.
Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell wrote about the Nats' GM's tendency to attach a value to available talent, ("get a number in his head" as Mr. Boswell puts it) and stick to it in a chat with readers yesterday, and the WaPost writer said that after surveying the market, Rizzo has decided to avoid getting involved up to this point:
"[Rizzo] thinks __and he does think these things __[Mark] Buerhle isn't worthy four years; [Roy] Oswalt isn't worth three years; Cepedes isn't worth $40-50M; [Yu] Darvish isn't worth God-knows-how-much; BJ Upton isn't worth a key Nats player just to control him for one year; [Albert] Pujols and [Prince] Fielder aren't worth THAT to the Nats because they're set up fine at 1st base."
There's some talk of the Nationals getting back into the Roy Oswalt discussions now that he appears willing to accept a one-year deal, but the Nats were reluctant to while the 34-year-old right-hander wanted a multi-year deal. The Nationals were willing to go to 3-years/$35-$39M (depending on what you read) for Buehrle while the Marlins were comfortable going to 4-years/$58 million. Washington, we know now, would have had to bid over $51.7 million for the posting fee for Yu Darvish and then sign the 25-year-old right-hander to what is expected to be a C.J. Wilson-ish contract (5-years/$75-77M). The price the Rays are asking for Upton has apparently remained unacceptable for going on two years. Prince Fielder...well.
An unnamed GM Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) spoke to last week told the writer (who was all over the Yu Darvish coverage) that he'd, "'... never seen a more confident agent' than Adam Katz is with Yoenis Cespedes. New CBA rules have made market even bigger," and according to a follow-up message on Twitter, they were expecting to start discussions, "... at Chapman money" -- $30M -- 'and it could go a lot higher.' Thinks a team might give six-, seven-, even eight-year deal."
Mike Rizzo told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern recently that the Nationals' scouts liked what they saw from Cespedes and see him as, "... a hit-and-power package that can play center field... runs extremely well and he throws well... [and] has the chance to be a five-tool player." For $30-$40-$60M, however?
With Jayson Werth and Michael Morse in the outfield and Bryce Harper on the way at some point in 2012, does it make sense for the Washington Nationals to lock up a 26-year-old relatively untested outfielder up for six years and however much it takes to win the bidding? Rizzo said recently he believes there are a few center fielders in the system already that are only a few years away. The Nats chose not to go after Yu Darvish. ESPN.com's Enrique Rojas mentions, "Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Texas, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees," as teams with interest in Cespedes. Nothing about the Nationals...
• ALSO: The Washington Nationals signed 38-year-old veteran outfielder Mike Cameron to a minor league deal yesterday, and according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson, the Nats are negotiating with two veteran bench options as well. Earlier this week, in an article entitled, "DeRosa still interested in joining Nationals", Mr. Ladson wrote that 36-year-old infielder Mark DeRosa was talking to the Nats among other teams and today the MLB Nats beat writer reported that Washington was talking to 33-year-old infielder Greg Dobbs. In an article entitled, "Nationals are among Dobbs' final suitors", Mr. Ladson reports that a source tells him the Nats are one of three teams talking to Dobbs, "... who is expected to make a decision soon."