Results tagged ‘ Yoenis Cespedes ’
The Tigers indeed had interest in Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed Monday, and had contract talks with agent Adam Katz. However, Dombrowski said, they eventually determined they weren’t going to meet their contract demands.
Cespedes agreed to terms Monday with the Oakland A’s on a four-year contract worth $36 million, passing on a reported six-year offer worth the same amount from the Florida Marlins. It ended a courtship that supposedly involved more than a half-dozen teams and made Cespedes baseball’s highest-profile free agent left on the market for the last couple weeks.
The interest was high enough that Dombrowski traveled to the Dominican Republic to personally watch Cespedes work out.
“We liked him,” Dombrowski told MLB.com Monday in a phone interview. “We talked contract with him, but we were not in a position to pay for him the amount they wanted.”
For a good part of the offseason, Cespedes was believed to be the Tigers’ top free-agent target. Dombrowski was one of about a half-dozen top Tigers officials to see Cespedes, either in workouts last November or at international tournaments over the last couple years. Last month, Cespedes listed the Tigers among a half-dozen teams showing the most interest in him.
The fact that the Tigers kept their comments limited on Cespedes, and the fact that Detroit didn’t get heavily involved on high-profile free agents early in the offseason, added to the intrigue.
That level of interest didn’t change after the Tigers signed Prince Fielder last month, Dombrowski said. However, he cautioned, they determined pretty soon where their talks were heading, despite reports labeling them among the favorites.
“I really wouldn’t have ruled us as a favorite to sign him, based upon where some of our preliminary conversations went with his agent,” Dombrowski said.
Those early talks apparently showed where Cespedes wanted to go — not just in terms of annual salary, but the length of contract. Dombrowski confirmed that a four-year deal was a big point, since it would allow him to hit the free-agent market sooner rather than later.
“That was pretty much always something that they outlined,” Dombrowski said. “If you were going to sign him, you would have to agree to that.”
With Cespedes off the market, the Tigers are now set with their position roster. Dombrowski said they were likely set before Cespedes signed, believing they weren’t likely to add him.
Katz told MLB Network Radio on Monday afternoon that the Marlins were the only team that met Cespedes in person during his visit to Miami last week.
Well, the mystery surrounding the Tigers and Yoenis Cespedes can now end. The Oakland A’s have reportedly swooped in and reached agreement with the highly-touted Cuban outfielder on a four-year, $36 million deal.
Oakland was never mentioned in the conversation on Cespedes in the media until today, when news of the agreement leaked. However, one scout who was in the Dominican Republic for much of November watching Cespedes said Monday that the A’s scouted him quite a bit. As of Sunday night, the Marlins seemed to be the clear favorite. As it turned out, reports suggest Florida and Oakland offered the same amount of money, but the latter was over a shorter contract, allowing Cespedes to hit free agency around age 30 instead of 32.
The Tigers have stayed very quiet about their interest in Cespedes. Assistant general manager Al Avila and legal counsel John Westhoff were in the Dominican Republic last week, but there’s no indication either of them met with Cespedes or agent Adam Katz.
Regardless, with Cespedes off the market, the Tigers are likely set with their positional roster. Though Detroit is intent on having Miguel Cabrera at third base, don’t expect the team to take away its lineup flexibility for one of the free agents still left out there.
As for which signing was a bigger surprise, Cespedes to Oakland or Prince Fielder to Detroit, I’ll let you all debate that one.
Might not want to eliminate the Tigers from the Yoenis Cespedes bidding just yet. Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio writes on Twitter that the Tigers are one of “six clubs that have been the most serious in negotiations with Cespedes’ agents.”
The Marlins, Cubs, White Sox and Orioles are also in the group, Bowden says.
Cespedes officially became a free agent last week around the same time the Tigers came to agreement with Prince Fielder on a nine-year, $214 million contract. The Tigers have been watching and waiting on Cespedes since last fall, but owner Mike Ilitch’s huge commitment to Fielder as a replacement for injured DH Victor Martinez seemingly put their pursuit into serious question.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski kept his comments guarded on the matter when the question came up after the Fielder press conference last Thursday at Comerica Park.
“I don’t want to say on that,” Dombrowski said. “Most likely [they’re out], but you never can tell.”
The Tigers have been extremely guarded in their comments about Cespedes, which have almost entirely come from up top with Dombrowski. How seriously the Tigers pursue him likely depends on the guy above him, owner Mike Ilitch. After all, it’s his money the Tigers have been spending.
Cespedes is free to talk with teams now that he has established residency in the Dominican Republic. He has still to clear one more hurdle here in the United States, though, before he can sign.
Can the Tigers still fit him into their lineup? Well, if he were to sign with Detroit, they could start him out in the minors while the Tigers lineup gets sorted out, depending on Cabrera at third and Delmon Young in left field or DH. At some point, the Tigers would have some decisions to make, but not necessarily right away.
Here’s the deal: Whatever follows this first paragraph, take it with a grain of salt. As we saw on the Prince Fielder thing, plans change around these parts.
That said, the Tigers don’t sound like they have another major move in store.
Positionally, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said they’re pretty well set. Yes, there’s still some free agent DH/outfielder types, but if the Tigers added somebody there, they’d essentially be locking themselves into Miguel Cabrera as a third baseman before seeing how he handles the position in spring training.
But there’s a big-name hitter still out there who has been connected with Tigers interest since November. When Dombrowski was asked about Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, he crafted his response to allow some leeway should somebody above his pay grade decide he’s worth pursuing.
“I don’t want to say on that,” Dombrowski said. “Most likely [they’re out], but you never can tell.”
Not lately, no.
Their outlook on pitching sounds a little more secure. Though the Tigers reportedly went after Roy Oswalt earlier, Dombrowski gave a pretty strong indication that they’re not looking for that kind of deal anymore. They’re still looking for veteran pitching, but Dombrowski is now downplaying expectations to the level of non-roster invitees. The 40-man roster is full, though they’ll open a spot by Opening Day by placing Victor Martinez on the 60-day disabled list.
Martinez, by the way, was scheduled to have a second opinion on his left knee Thursday afternoon from Dr. Richard Steadman. No news was available as of Thursday night, but the Tigers are expecting to hear he’ll need surgery for a torn ACL.
That would open up a roster spot for a non-roster pitcher who comes to camp. At this point, though, Dombrowski sounds more open than ever to having one of his young pitcher take the fifth starter job, especially if he’s going to get an uptick in run support.
“We’re having some conversations with a few guys,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t know if it’ll happen for not. But I don’t want it sound like we’re signing some guy to a long-term contract, or even in a position to be giving a big one-year deal. We’re talking more [to] bring a guy into camp, and if our youngsters don’t make it, then we can maybe lean on that guy to do it.”
The added run support the Tigers can expect from this offense gives them some leeway.
“You’re trying to win, and I think you can do that,” Dombrowski said. “But we have four veteran starters, a better offense. So it’s conducive to breaking that [young] guy in there if you can. At some point, you’re trying to break young guys in, because you want a guy or two to break in on a yearly basis somewhere. I know people write about payroll and I know we have a high payroll, but even the Yankees try to break young guys in, because you need to have somebody making lesser salaries. … It’s important, and I think it’s a good place to do it for us. But I don’t want to feed somebody to the wolves if they go to spring training and then they don’t look like they can handle it. That’s why you’re trying to protect yourself if you can.”
I said this on twitter earlier, but at this point, I would be surprised if one of the youngsters heading to camp — Duane Below, Jacob Turner, Adam Wilk, Andy Oliver or Drew Smyly — doesn’t win the open rotation spot. There’s more talent in that group than in the lower ranks of the free agency market right now. It’s the experience that’s lacking.
Dionisio Soldevila, a reporter in the Dominican Republic, set the Twitterverse aflutter this morning (OK, just the baseball corner) with a quote from Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The teams with more interest in him, Cespedes said, are the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Detroit and the Indians.
That surely isn’t the extent of the market for him. Expect at least another team or two to emerge from the quiet that has come over the Cespedes market while everybody waits for his Dominican residency to be granted and for Major League Baseball to declare him eligible for free agency after that. It could be Jan. 15, as MLB.com Marlins reporter Joe Frisaro suggested last week. It could be later.
Marlins president David Samson told a Miami radio station that his team would be “aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there.” Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, meanwhile, has kept his comments limited almost to the point of silence on Cespedes. Essentially, they mean the same thing.
Here’s a story on the site about the Tigers and the waiting game they’re playing on Cespedes. It also gets into the debate over what happens next if the Tigers do sign him.
Our MLB.com Marlins reporter, Joe Frisaro, cites an industry source saying Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will have his residency established in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 15, which will allow him to officially become a free agent and allow teams to talk to his agent, Adam Katz. That said, previous expected dates have come and gone, so it’s more of a hope than anything right now.
The Marlins are expected to take part in the bidding, as are the Tigers. The process, however, is a little different than standard free agency. According to another blog post on the Sun-Sentinel web site out of Fort Lauderdale, interested teams will submit sealed bids to Major League Baseball, which will then forward them to the agent. From there, teams can raise their bids. Cespedes is still free to accept whichever offer he wants, but with MLB as a middle man, the process is a little different.
How long that process will take is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to make for an interesting process, culminating with a team winning his rights and then having to adjust the roster on the fly as spring training nears.
The Tigers have been among the many teams scouting Cuban five-tool outfielder and recent YouTube sensation Yoenis Cespedes, and they haven’t made a secret that they’ve watched him. Now, even team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski is apparently going to get a first-hand look at the man who appears set to surpass Aroldis Chapman as the most hotly-pursued Cuban talent.
An industry source confirmed Dombrowski will watch Cespedes work out in the Dominican Republic, which has been Cespedes’ home since defecting from Cuba earlier this year. Credit Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com with the first report on Dombrowski, who was out of pocket on Wednesday when the Tigers announced their two-year contract to bring back free agent infielder Ramon Santiago.
Tigers interest in a Cuban prospect is not unusual. They scouted Chapman a couple years ago and were interested before the bidding escalated. But Dombrowski’s trip to watch him is rare. Usually, international operations director Tom Moore handles those duties, with vice president Al Avila and special assistant Dick Egan making scouting trips to Latin America. Avila told the Detroit Free Press two weeks ago that they’ve scouted Cespedes several times. Special assistant David Chadd watched a Cespedes workout earlier this month.
That level of observation suggests the Tigers are serious in their interest. With the level of bidding expected, it makes sense for the man in charge to want a look. Cespedes has been working out for teams since the start of November, including private workouts reportedly for the Nationals and Yankees among others.