Marlins “expected to make strong push” for Yoenis Cespedes

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Now that Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic his long-awaited free agency should be right around the corner and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that the Marlins “are expected to make a strong push” for the Cuban defector.

They’ll have plenty of competition, although Cespedes’ poor showing in the Dominican winter league may have exposed some sizable flaws in the 26-year-old outfielder’s game. He went 5-for-35 (.143) with 10 strikeouts and zero walks before calling it quits.

Cespedes said previously that the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians were the six teams showing the most interest and Frisaro believes Miami’s “strong Cuban community” could help the Marlins’ case. That and a huge contract, of course.

UPDATE: Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com contradicts Frisaro, reporting that Cespedes “has told teams he would prefer not to play in Miami.”

Report: Tigers to hire Ron Gardenhire as new manager

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The Tigers are expected to hire Ron Gardenhire as the team’s new manager upon completion of a contract, per Ken Rosenthal and Katie Strang of The Athletic. Gardenhire, 59, spent the 2017 season serving as the bench coach for the Diamondbacks.

Gardenhire managed the Twins for 13 seasons between 2002-14, amassing a 1,068-1,039 (.507) record in the regular season and reaching the playoffs six times.

According to Strang and Rosenthal, Gardenhire was one of 10 candidates to interview with the Tigers. Others included Alex Cora, Mike Redmond, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe McEwing, Hensley Meulens, Dave Clark, and Omar Vizquel. Apparently, GM Al Avila wanted a manager with previous major league managing experience.

The Tigers parted ways with previous manager Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2017 regular season, his fourth year at the helm.