Let the bidding begin: Yoenis Cespedes is finally a free agent

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After months of reports about Yoenis Cespedes being on the verge of free agency MLB has finally announced that the 26-year-old outfielder who defected from Cuba last summer is cleared to negotiate with teams.

Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic and then surprised many people by participating in the Dominican winter league, but stopped playing following a rough 10-game stretch in which he hit .143.

Initially there was plenty of speculation about Cespedes getting as much as $50 million, but those rumors seem to have died down. However, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com “he’s expected to command a contract greater than” the $30.5 million deal Aroldis Chapman got from the Reds after defecting from Cuba in 2009.

Cespedes said previously that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians have shown the most interest, but reports vary on whether he views playing in Miami as a positive or a negative.

As for what type of player Cespedes is capable of being, projections based off his Cuban numbers show a good but not great hitter with 25-homer power and poor strike-zone control.

Red Sox trade Roenis Elias back to the Mariners

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The Boston Red Sox announced this afternoon that they’ve traded lefty Roenis Elias to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later or cash.

Boston had acquired Elias in the same trade that netted them reliever Carson Smith in exchange for Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro back in December of 2015. Since that time Elias has not been a part of the Red Sox’ plans, pitching in just four big league games — eight innings total — in all of 2016 and 2017 and not making an appearance for the big club this season. He was pretty solid for Pawtucket in 2016 but 2017 was largely lost to injuries.

Now he’s headed back to Seattle where, once upon a time, Elias posted a 3.85 ERA in 29 starts as a rookie for the Mariners.