Yoenis Cespedes expected to travel to United States within 7-10 days

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Yoenis Cespedes’ agent Adam Katz has been a pretty popular guy since the Cuban outfielder was granted free agency by MLB last Wednesday.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Katz said the market for the 26-year-old has been “meaningful and aggressive” and that he expects his client will be in spring training with an MLB club.

 “We are aware of the (spring-training) dates. We expect him to be in camp with one of the clubs.”

With that in mind, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that Cespedes is expected to travel to the United States within the next 7-10 days to meet face-to-face with interested teams.

Bowden also hears that six teams have been the “most serious” in negotiations for Cespedes thus far, including the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and a sixth unidentified team. No word on who the sixth team could be, but Cespedes has previously mentioned the Indians as a potential landing spot.

Cespedes recently went 5-for-35 (.143) with one home run and a 10/0 K/BB ratio during a brief stint with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League playoffs. He’s expected to land a contract north of the $30.5 million deal that Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman got from the Reds in January of 2010.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.