MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 27: Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals makes a catch during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on September 27, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Think the price in years and dollars it will take to bring 27-year-old free agent first baseman Prince Fielder to the nation's capital will be prohibitively high? Think the posting process which gave the Texas Rangers the rights to negotiate exclusively with Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters' right-hander Yu Darvish was a mystery and their $51.7M dollar winning bid obscene? Find it ridiculous that the New York Yankees would bid only $15 million for the rights to negotiate with the 25-year-old Darvish? Or that Washington didn't bid at all?
How much do you think the Washington Nationals will have to pay to get free agent center fielder Yoenis Cespedes in a bidding war? According to a report by Mike Bernadino of the Florida Sun-Sentinel, the 26-year-old Cespedes is still working out residency issues, but he'll be available soon, and then, "Major League Baseball will start the bidding process sometime shortly after."
The process, the Sun-Sentinel's Mr. Bernadino reports, will have interested teams, "... submit sealed bids to [agent Adam] Katz through MLB, then have an opportunity to up those offers for the power-hitting center fielder."
Remember when Yahoo!Sports.com's Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) quoted an anonymous agent on Twitter who said Katz and Cespedes were thinking big? "'They're starting at Chapman money' -- $30M -- 'and it could go a lot higher.' Thinks a team might give six-, seven-, even eight-year deal", the Yahoo!Sports.com writer reported. ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) tweeted that, "One big-league executive says Cespedes agent telling clubs it will take double Chapman money to sign him. That means $60m."
In the Sun-Sentinel article entitled, "Yoenis Cespedes could be the next Miami Marlins target", Mr. Bernadino writes that, "The latest speculation has Cespedes seeking up to a six- to-eight-year deal," at $6-8M per, or, "... nearly $65 million, which likely would eliminate the Marlins from the process." The Sun-Sentinel's writer quotes Marlins' GM Larry Beinfest saying pretty much what D.C. GM Mike Rizzo had to say recently when he spoke about Cespedes during an interview with ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan.
"'We really liked him when we saw him at that workout [in November],'" the Marlins' GM's quoted stating, "'It’s something we’re continuing to monitor, and we’ll kind of leave it there. But we were very impressed.'" Rizzo too said he'd been impressed by what he saw at a private workout with the outfielder, and he told the ESPN980 hosts, "... we've scouted him, as you could imagine we've scouted him quite a bit. We feel comfortable with our knowledge of him and we'll see where that takes us."
The Nats' GM said it wasn't like paying for a young prospect out of the Dominican Republic, the 26-year-old Cuban -- (a veteran of six Cuban National Series campaigns including a 2010-11 season which saw Cespedes, put up a .333/.424/.667 slash, "... while joining Jose Abreu in establishing a new league record with 33 home runs," in 90 games as Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein wrote) -- is expecting, "... a major league contract at major league money and mistakes of this proportion can really set you back a long way."
Rizzo's recommendation? Ask yourself how good the competition he's played against has been? Ask if you've seen him enough? Ask how he'll adjust to the majors? Ask your gut? And after that, "Those are all questions that you need to feel very, very comfortable with and if you're not, this is somebody you should not walk away from, [but] run away from."
Coming from a GM who told reporters recently he liked what he saw among available center fielders in the 2012-13 free agent class better than this year's available outfielders, it sounds like Cespedes might be too big a risk. Then again, he's said the Nationals aren't desperate to add Prince Fielder all winter and the Nationals are still considered the front-runners to sign the big free agent first baseman by many in the baseball world.