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.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.