Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes is establishing residency in the Dominican Republic so that he can become a free agent and sign with an MLB team for what many people are speculating could be close to $50 million, but how good does the 26-year-old outfielder figure to be in America?
Projecting prospects based on minor-league numbers is tough enough, but projections based on performances in Cuba are even more difficult because the level of competition isn’t as well defined and there aren’t many previous examples of players going from Cuba to America.
With that caveat out of the way, Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus crunched the numbers to see what type of MLB hitter Cespedes will be and projects him as having 25-homer power with batting averages around .250 and poor strikeout-to-walk ratios
Davenport’s lengthy analysis is definitely worth reading, so I won’t spoil the whole thing, but based on the numbers in Cuba he sees Cespedes as being similar to Adam Jones of the Orioles. In other words very good but not quite great, and there are also questions about whether Cespedes can handle center field defensively long term.
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.