Yoenis Cespedes close to establishing residency in Dominican Republic

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While we’re all waiting to find out who had the top bid for Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish, the sweepstakes for Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is about to begin.

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Cespedes could be granted residency in the Dominican Republic this week. Edgar Mercedes, Cepsedes’ representative in the Dominican, said that the 26-year-old has already gained approval, so it sounds like they are only awaiting the official documentation.

“We’ll hear about it tomorrow [Tuesday]. We are confident that Yoenis will receive his documents this week.”

While Cespedes needs to be granted residency before becoming a free agent in MLB, he also needs to get approval from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. As we learned from Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus over the weekend, that likely won’t happen until the early part of January.

“The unlocking may take two weeks, but in January we’ll be authorized to sign,” Mercedes said. “We are on time to sign for the next season, because spring training will start on the second week of February.”

The number of teams who have scouted Cespedes in the Dominican Republic stretches well into the double-digits, though most consider the Yankees, Marlins, Cubs and Tigers the favorites to sign him.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.

Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.

While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.