11/14/11 11:58 PM EST
Cubs to work out Cuban star Cespedes
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Jason McLeod, the Cubs' vice president of scouting and player development, will travel to the Dominican Republic on Thursday with some other scouts to watch Cespedes.
The 26-year-old outfielder is considered to be the best player in a generation to come out of Cuba. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, said the group will have tryouts for other players as well.
The Cubs will have plenty of competition if they decide to pursue the five-tool outfielder. The Red Sox, Phillies, Indians, Blue Jays, Pirates, Rangers, Tigers, Nationals, Athletics, Marlins and Yankees are reportedly interested in him as well, and he worked out for the Marlins front office on Thursday.
Cespedes (pronounced SES-peh-des) played on the Cuban national team and has been training in the Dominican Republic. A right-handed hitter, he set Cuba's single-season home run record this past season, with 33, his record-setting blast coming on a grand slam. The record was matched on the season's last day by Jose Dariel Abreu.
Cespedes would have to negotiate a series of visa processes before he could be declared a free agent. His asking price was expected to rival the $30 million deal Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.