UPDATE: Cespedes has been granted free agency, so let the bidding begin
By Matt Snyder
Now that Prince Fielder has signed, will the pre-2012 free agent talk die a quiet death? Not likely, as we can add one last big-name position player to the mix. Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes will hit the market very soon. He wasn't eligible to be a free agent until he had established residency outside of Cuba, and MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez is reporting that Cespedes has now done so in the Dominican Republic. Cespedes will be a free agent once MLB approves him.
Cespedes, 26, is an outfielder that some scouts have said could possibly have a Bo Jackson-type power-speed combination. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Cespedes hit .333/.424/.667 with 33 homers, 99 RBI, 11 steals and 89 runs in 90 games last season in Cuba.
FREE AGENT TRACKER
"He's a five-tool guy, built like an NFL running back," one scout told Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. "He has tremendous raw power, with all the tools to be a 30-30 guy in the big leagues. His mother pitched on the Cuban national softball team, so he has athleticism in the family."
Recent reports have indicated the Cubs and Marlins are the two most likely suitors for Cespedes, though about a dozen teams have been connected to him in rumors. Considering the Fielder-to-Tigers and Pujols-to-Angels movements we've seen this offseason, all bets are off here.
Here's Cespedes hitting a home run in the Dominican Winter League:
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