Showalter, Orioles to visit Cespedes

DALLAS – The Orioles have entered Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter and Fred Ferreira, the club’s Executive Director Of International Recruiting, will travel to the Dominican Republic this weekend for a private workout by outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

The Phillies, Nationals, Tigers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs, and Marlins have all expressed strong interest in signing the outfielder and that number could increase when he becomes a free agent, possibly as early as the end of the month, said Edgar Mercedes, who advises Cespedes.

The outfielder, who is represented by Adam Katz, is currently trying to establish residency in the Dominican Republic.

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.

What type of contract Cespedes will command remains uncertain. What is certain is that when he signs, Cespedes will be the latest in a long list of players from Cuba to make the jump to the Major Leagues in the past three years.

The Reds made a splash when they signed left-hander Aroldis Chapman to a six-year, $30.25 million deal in January 2010. Three months after Chapman, infielder Adeiny Hechavarria signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the Blue Jays. Pitcher Yunesky Maya signed a four-year, $8 million deal with the Nationals that July.

Before the start of the 2009 season, Dayan Viciedo signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the White Sox, and shortstop Jose Iglesias signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox near the end of the season. Last May, the Rangers signed Martin to a five-year, $15.5 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus.

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