Monday, November 7, 2011

Let the Yoennis Cespedes bidding begin

The Blue Jays and other teams should be licking their chops as outfielder Yoennis Cespedes has just become a free agent. My sources tell me the reports you're hearing about the five-tool Cuban outfielder are not entirely overblown. Cespedes, 26, is widely considered one of the all-time top position-player prospects hailing from Cuba. He benches 350. He "hack squats" 600. But is he really 26? A high-ranking MLB scout told me today he doesn't believe it.

The Florida Marlins, soon to be renamed the Miami Marlins, will make a strong push to sign Cespedes, expected to command a $30 million contract. The Marlins lost out on the bidding for Aroldis Chapman and need some serious star power for their new stadium. Toronto could go after Cespedes, offering a corner outfield job, but I have just learned the Jays are not that interested. Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista have CF and RF locked down, and the other corner spot is up for grabs. Travis Snider and Eric Thames remain affordable options with plenty of upside. My feeling is the Jays may kick the tires, but they're not a player here.

Cespedes has power and pedigree. His mom, Estela MilanĂ©s, pitched for the Cuban softball team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. There is a great line at Baseball-Reference that simply states: "Unlike his mother, Yoennis has made his mark as a hitter." UPDATE: The odd yet enlightening video of Cespedes making the rounds today has since been removed by the YouTube user, but here is some video of his balanced and textbook swing.

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