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).
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.