The Miami Marlins have already committed to spending $191 million through three free agent signings this winter -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle -- and they may not be done, if they have their choice. Marlins president David Samson said on local radio Thursday that the club will make a very strong push for Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes (via Sun-Sentinel.com):
“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson, characterizing the club’s planned pursuit. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We've] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that many scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba. Obviously, since he's been playing in Cuba, not a ton is known about Cespedes, but he's going to start playing in a Dominican winter league -- starting Thursday, according to ESPN Deportes.
“I think that we’re right in there. There are a lot of teams who want him and we’re definitely competitive and we’re not fooling around. We expect he will be a significant sign and receive a significant signing bonus and contract, and we’re prepared for that. Again, if you’re dealing with another team who needs to make a bigger splash or wants to get irrational, we’re not going to match that.”
He's not a free agent yet, but will be once his residence is officially changed to the Dominican Republic -- which should come very soon.
Lots of teams are said to be interested in signing Cespedes, so the Marlins aren't alone. As far as I can tell, the following teams have also been reported to have at least some interest: Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Nationals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, A's, Indians, Red Sox and Yankees.
If interested, here is a video Cespedes' agents have put together to showcase his skills.
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