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.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.