While we’re all waiting to find out who had the top bid for Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, the sweepstakes for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is about to begin.
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Cespedes could be granted residency in the Dominican Republic this week. Edgar Mercedes, Cepsedes’ representative in the Dominican, said that the 26-year-old has already gained approval, so it sounds like they are only awaiting the official documentation.
“We’ll hear about it tomorrow [Tuesday]. We are confident that Yoenis will receive his documents this week.”
While Cespedes needs to be granted residency before becoming a free agent in MLB, he also needs to get approval from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. As we learned from Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus over the weekend, that likely won’t happen until the early part of January.
“The unlocking may take two weeks, but in January we’ll be authorized to sign,” Mercedes said. “We are on time to sign for the next season, because spring training will start on the second week of February.”
The number of teams who have scouted Cespedes in the Dominican Republic stretches well into the double-digits, though most consider the Yankees, Marlins, Cubs and Tigers the favorites to sign him.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.