01/24/12 4:45 PM ET
Cespedes moves closer to free agency
Cuban outfielder gains residency in Dominican, waits on MLB
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Cuban outfield prospect Yoenis Cespedes has established his residency in the Dominican Republic and is now waiting for approval from Major League Baseball to be declared a free agent, his representative Edgar Mercedes said.
Cespedes, who just finished a stint with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League, recently said the Marlins, Cubs, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers, and Indians have expressed the most interest in signing him. He is expected to command a contract greater than the one received by Cuban left-handed pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who signed a six-year, $30.25 million deal with the Reds in January 2010.
Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs, 99 RBIs and 11 stolen bases over 90 games in Cuba during the 2010-11 season, and many believe he can be inserted into the 2012 Opening Day starting lineup for the team that signs him.
He hit .143 with one home run and 10 strikeouts in 35 at-bats for the Aguilas.