Yoenis Cespedes has yet to obtain a work visa from the Dominican Republic three weeks after signing a four-year, $36 million contract with the A’s, but general manager Billy Beane said yesterday that the team expects him in camp “very soon.”
Jane Lee of MLB.com writes that “there’s a strong possibility” Cespedes will arrive at spring training over the weekend, leaving him plenty of time to get ready for Opening Day.
Cespedes established residency in the Dominican Republic after defecting from Cuba, allowing him to become a free agent and negotiate with all 30 teams. According to Lee the three-week delay “is rather normal” within the visa process and is not the result of a problem.
Once he does arrive Cespedes is expected to become the A’s everyday center fielder, although Coco Crisp may still have something to say about that (literally and figuratively).
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.