Cespedes declared a free agent

Yoenis Cespedes is now a free agent.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball sent out a notice to the clubs advising them that Cespedes, as a resident of the Dominican Republic, is not subjected to the Amateur Draft and may now sign as a free agent.

On Tuesday, the outfield prospect established residency in the Dominican Republic. Cespedes’ representative must now unblock him pursuant to the OFAC regulations before he can enter into a contract.

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.

The Marlins are on record saying they believe Cespedes’ best fit is in Miami, with its strong Cuban community. The club is prepared to make a substantial offer — between four and six years — for the power-hitting outfielder.
Reports that he is not interested in signing with the Marlins are not true, an industry source said.

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.

— Jesse Sanchez


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