Yankees wait to bid on Cuban defector

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So says George King of the New York Post:

Do
the Yankees have their sights on Derek Jeter’s eventual replacement,
who also could be a future center fielder who nudges Curtis Granderson
to left?

If I didn’t know any better, I think King
just told me this kid can play two positions at the same time. Crazy.
But seriously, King reports that the Yankees are expected to bid on
Cuban defector Adeiny Hechavarria once he is “unblocked” by the Office
of Foreign Assets Committee, or OFAC. The OFAC are currently verifying
his age — allegedly 21 years old — identity and residency, although
they may be finished as soon as next week. Hechavarria, a veteran of
the Cuban junior national team, defected to Mexico last year.

I
don’t know any more than I’ve read in the past few days, but there are
more than a few scouts who have said he is a better prospect than
19-year-old Jose Iglesias, who signed with the Red Sox in September.
The Angels were also linked to Hechavarria earlier this week.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”