Into a free-agent market light on outfielders – light on everything but first basemen, perhaps – strolls Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, the promotional video Jose Canseco wishes he'd thought of, and now the jostling to see and sign him.
The man, the video (since removed from YouTube), the auction.
Cespedes, 26, is in the Dominican Republic, awaiting temporary residency clearance. Then, presumably, Major League Baseball will make him a free agent. My colleague Jeff Passan published a must-read on Cespedes last night.
In preparation, Cespedes' agent, Adam Katz, has conducted open workouts in the Dominican – the last of which hosted hundreds of scouts, baseball ops types and various other evaluators and officials. Cespedes, according to witnesses, hit batting-practice home runs out of the stadium and ran a 6.41-second 60 on a muddy track.
At the moment, before the bidding starts, the list of teams interested in Cespedes – gleaned in part by their presence at workouts – is long and decorated: Yankees, Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Marlins, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates.
I spoke to Katz, who said he has not yet discussed contract terms with teams. He said he'd first get through the mechanics of making Cespedes a free agent, then – with trainer Edgar Mercedes – conduct any remaining workouts before taking bids.
I would say that if Cespedes is good enough to be in somebody's big league outfield on opening day, and if this many teams believe it, and that the Yankees truly are one of them, then Cespedes' contract should easily outrun Aroldis Chapman's(notes) (six years, $30.25 million).
Also: An employee for one of the smaller-market clubs watching Cespedes said that if the Yankees want him, the Yankees will get him. We still live in that world. … Good of the Baltimore Orioles to bring in Dan Duquette during the "twilight" of his career. … During the postseason, I got the distinct feeling Joe Torre could be the next commissioner. He's not been promised the job, nor am I sure he even wants it, but I got that notion. I could also see Torre returning to a team – a newly branded Dodgers, perhaps – in an executive capacity. … An incomplete list of entities/personalities/billionaires/etc. many expect to explore an ownership play on the Dodgers (either as the money or front men or both): Dennis Gilbert, Peter O'Malley, Ron Burkle, Stan Kasten, Mark Cuban, Arn Tellem, Steve Garvey, Alan Casden, Tom Golisano, Fred Claire. Blackstone Group LP, headquartered a block from MLB in New York, will manage the sale. … The Giants traded left-handed starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez(notes) and minor-league left-hander Ryan Verdugo to the Kansas City Royals for outfielder Melky Cabrera(notes) on Monday. Sanchez has had one good season (2010) and Cabrera is coming off a career year in Kansas City. Both are a year from free agency. And while first blush gives the edge to the Royals, in part because Cabrera goes from a neutral park to a pitcher's park, so does Sanchez take his 4.26 ERA to the American League and a less friendly stadium.