Marlins planning aggressive pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes

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The Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Nationals, Tigers and White Sox have all made it known that they plan to pursue Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes once he becomes eligible for major league free agency.

But those clubs may have to contend with a Miami front office that is willing to spend wildly.

According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marlins president David Samson told 790 The Ticket on Thursday that his team is planning an “aggressive” pursuit of Cespedes when he hits the open market later this month. Here’s the full quote:

“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We’ve been] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.”

Cespedes, 26, batted .333/.424/.667 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 90 games last season in Cuba. With so many teams fawning over him, it’s possible that he lands a contract in the $50-60 million range.

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.