GM: Yoenis Cespedes to arrive in A’s camp “very soon”

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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).

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.