MLB scouts and front-office types have been buzzing about Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for a while, but he didn’t become a hot topic among most fans until his ridiculous scouting video made him an internet sensation early last month. Well, he’s back with another one.
Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus got the first look at the footage and once again breaks it down in meticulous and entertaining fashion. This one mostly keeps the focus on baseball, but we do get Cespedes and former NFL running back Ahman Green swimming in a river at the end. No big deal. Oh, and the Star Wars opening credits are back.
We also see some of the teams who have visited Cespedes in the Dominican Republic over the past few weeks. You’ll notice Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and manager Ozzie Guillen, Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan, Phillies special adviser Pat Gillick, Tigers special assistant Willie Horton and the shadow of Cubs president Theo Epstein.
As far as when Cespedes will be available for MLB teams, he is hoping to establish residency in the Dominican Republic within the next few days. Once that’s done, he’ll have to get clearance from MLB and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. This process will drag into January, but the expectation is that he’ll be in spring training with an MLB team.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.