|Agent: Yoenis Cespedes expected to play in big leagues in 2012||11.16.11 at 3:36 pm ET|
MILWAUKEE — After the GM meetings, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington will fly to the Dominican Republic to attend the private workout of multiple players from Cuba, including outfield sensation Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is a 26-year-old, five-tool, power-hitting center fielder who defected from Cuba and is currently working to establish his residency in the Dominican Republic.
The process of establishing temporary residency will take five to 15 days. Once that occurs, Cespedes will apply to Major League Baseball to participate as an international free agent. Whenever he is cleared to be subject to bidding, a frenzy could ensue. Multiple evaluators have suggested that Cespedes could receive upwards of the six-year, $30.25 million deal signed by Aroldis Chapman two winters ago. Certainly, the hype surrounding Cespedes is considerable — both among the scouting community that has been following him for years as a standout in Cuba and international play, and now among U.S. fans, thanks to a celebrated Youtube video showcasing his physical abilities.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it since Spinal Tap,” joked Adam Katz, who will represent Cespedes. “At the end of the day, it was compelling. As quirky as it was, it ended up being very compelling.”
Katz noted that the bidding process is “a ways down the road.” That said, the interest will be considerable, particularly given that, on ability alone, Cespedes, 26, is viewed as potentially a big league-ready outfielder in an otherwise thin market for such players.
“I’m not an evaluator, but I’m told by people who evaluate, he is [big league ready],” said Katz.
Katz acknowledged that it will be difficult to evaluate comparable players to frame a potential contract for a player whose experience is limited to Cuba’s top league and international play.
“It’s really touchy-feely,” said Katz. “He’s an unusual guy. He’s 26. He’s major league ready. People are going to be evaluate. A value will be established. People will bid competitively, and it will be what it will be.”
Cespedes’ preference is to play center field, said Katz, but “it’s not a deal-breaker” to play a corner — something that would make him of interest to the Red Sox, given the uncertainty surrounding their right field situation (with J.D. Drew a free agent and neither Josh Reddick nor Ryan Kalish having proven definitively yet that he is ready to command the everyday job).
Katz did not want to speculate on how he would go about setting the market for his client, but the timing of his arrival to the U.S. (with a limited class of high-end outfield free agents) appears to augur well for interest in Cespedes.
“From what I’m being told, people feel he’s major league ready. I think he feels like he is. If he’s not, I’m sure everyone will make an adjustment. Right now, we’re all planning for him to be a big leaguer,” said Katz. “I think it’s good timing for the clubs that a player like this is available, and good timing for the kid.”
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