Here’s a development that could have a significant impact on the offseason plans for several teams.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer was told by a source that it could take two months before Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will be declared a free agent by MLB.
Cespedes, 26, defected to the Dominican Republic this past summer. His advisor Edgar Mercedes told Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus earlier this week that they were hoping to have his paperwork wrapped up before the end of the month and that he was confident Cespedes would be in spring training with an MLB team. Cespedes’ agent is Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group.
Cespedes was already visited by a large contingent from the Marlins front office this week and is expected to have several more private workouts for interested teams in the coming days and weeks. The early buzz is that he could land a deal rivaling the $30.25 million contract Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds in January of 2010.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.