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).
Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.
Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.
The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.