Cespedes Can Negotiate with Teams … and Other Cubs News and Notes

The Cubs are reportedly interested in a trio of Cuban players … Yoenis Cespedes, Jorge Soler and Gerardo Concepcion. While they have been able to negotiate a deal with Concepcion, the 18-year old southpaw, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can now officially negotiate a contract with Yoenis Cespedes.

A day after the news surfaced that Cespedes had established residency in the Dominican Republic, MLB teams were told on Wednesday they can start negotiating with Cespedes and his agent Adam Katz.

While teams can negotiate a deal with the outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes cannot sign a contract. Cespedes must obtain an unblocking license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before he can sign. The license is required because he is a Cuban national who has established residency in another country.

Three of the top prospects in the Cubs’ system made MLB.com’s list of the best minor league players in the game. Brett Jackson (33) and Anthony Rizzo (37) were ranked in the top 50 and Javier Baez was ranked as the 62nd best prospect in the game.

Here is the update …

Yoenis Cespedes
The Cubs are considered the front-runner to sign Yoenis Cespedes but it is too early in the process to count out the ‘Mystery Team‘.

The Cubs, Marlins, Orioles and White Sox are believed to be the teams with the most interest in Cespedes. Rumors early Wednesday suggested that Cespedes really doesn’t want to sign with the Marlins … and Cespedes recently said that the Cubs were showing the most interest in him.

The Cubs have heavily scouted Cespedes. Jose Serra, the Cubs Coordinator of Latin American Scouting, attended Cespedes’ game in the Dominican last Monday. Serra is credited with signing current players such as Rafael Dolis, Alberto Cabrera, Welington Castillo, Jeffry Antigua, Junior Lake, Carlos Marmol and Starlin Castro.

Jason McLeod has spoken highly of Cespedes of late and has said the Cubs will bid on him. The Cubs figure to be in the mix for Cespedes until the end … but how far they are willing to go?

According to a report from Jesse Sanchez, “the Marlins are on record saying they believe Cespedes’ best fit is in Miami, with its strong Cuban community.” The Marlins are “prepared to make a substantial offer that is believed to be in the four to six year range.” Sanchez shot down the rumor from Wednesday that Cespedes is not interested in signing with the Marlins.

The next few weeks figure to be filled with Yoenis Cespedes rumors … this is just the beginning.

Baseball Is Better
The Cubs new ad campaign ‘Baseball Is Better has rubbed the ad agencies in Chicago the wrong way. The campaign was put together by The Brooklyn Brothers, a New York agency.

Theo Epstein was not involved in the decision to hire The Brooklyn Brothers. As it turns out, Wally Hayward and Crane Kenney made the call on hiring the agency.

CastroBBIB.jpg SveumBBIB.jpg

The ad campaign will probably continue to evolve throughout the season to reflect other various thoughts about what baseball is better than.

Brett Jackson, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez
MLB.com unveiled their list of the top 50 on the MLB Network Wednesday night … and the top 100 list on MLB.com. The top three prospects in the Cubs system according to many of the national publications made the list … and two made the top 50.

Brett Jackson was ranked as the 33rd best prospect in the game with the recently acquired Anthony Rizzo coming in just behind him at number 37. The Cubs first round pick from last June’s Draft, Javier Baez, came in at number 62.

Click Here for the Complete List of the Top 100 Prospects in Baseball

News and Notes
Chris Bosio is old-school according to the Tribune … and appeared to be extremely intense at the Cubs Convention.

The Lakeview Baseball Club has changed hands. The famous rooftop on Sheffield was recently sold in a bankruptcy auction for $4.8 million to the owner of Brixen Ivy, Mark Schlenker. The deal is expected to close next week. The Lakefield Baseball Club is the home of the ‘AC’ and ‘Eamus Catuli!’ signs.

The Brewers had shown interest in signing Kosuke Fukudome according to Ken Rosenthal but have decided against signing Fukudome after committing a combined $4.75 million for Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoiki ($2.5 million posting fee and a two-year, $2.25 million contract). Fukudome would like to continue his Major League career but might end up playing ball in Japan instead.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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  • Dorasaga

    That’s a good one:

    “If the renamed Miami Marlins move to the AL as a part of realignment, Back to the Future 2 had the Cubs over Miami in 2015.”

    Twitter Is Confused About Miami Marlins Name Change

    http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/07/twitter_is_confused_about_miam.php

  • Smcneil

    While they have been able to negotiate a deal with Concepcion, the 18-year old southpaw

    I hadn’t heard that they coud do this yet. Any word on how this is going?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I have not heard/read any updates on Concepcion.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I have not heard/read any updates on Concepcion in the last couple of days.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Here is an update, Gerardo Concepcion’s agent told Enrique Rojas his client has several offers on table and could sign w/team as early as this weekend.

      Report is in Spanish, can run through Google Translate if you need to

      http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story?id=1455081&s=bei&type=story

  • Tom U

    Congratulations to the Yaquis de Obregon. They have a chance to defend their 2011 Caribbean World Series title with a series sweep of Guasave for the Mexican Pacific League Championship. Cub representatives include Alfredo Amenzaga, Marco Carrillo, and Oswaldo Martinez.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Fuko would make a fine bench player for the ML minimum.

    • ChadAudio

      Fukadome would be a great 4th OF on an MLB team and is easily worth more then what Blake DeWitt is getting paid.  I’m surprised the some one like the A’s didn’t snag him and pay what Reed Johnson is getting from the Cubs… guess it’s back to Japan then.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yup. If you match him up with the right pitchers, he can produce a few walks, a few doubles, and be last in the league in RBIs. 

        • ChadAudio

          He led our team in OBP, and has the ability to be a leadoff hitter in a platoon situation.  Plus, he’s an good defensive outfielder.  No, he isn’t a power hitter/RBI guy though.

  • PleaseStopLosing

    This is a reach since these players are still a ways out… (2014 maybe) but this lineup is intriguing.

    1B-Rizzo
    2B-Torres/DeVoss/Soler?
    SS-Castro
    3B-Baez
    LF-Cespedes
    CF-Jackson
    RF-Ha? Or new aquisition.
    C-Soto? Castillo? Someone else.

    Lake, LaHair?, Vogelbach and Ridling would all be possible sticks off the bench. Campana, Chei-Chen and a few more speed guys also.

    I like the combination of speed and power… Hopefully a few pitchers develop or we spend some money in FA to fill in the gaps and round out the rotation.

    Would be a fun team to watch. 

  • Ripsnorter1

    From what I can tell, not a whisper about Castro’s escapades on the CCO. I admit I haven’t read everything these last three weeks due to my schedule, so I could have missed a few posts on it. 

    BUT…..It should be mentioned that this kind of behavior damages the mind and affects performance on the field. Consider the most recent example of Tiger Woods. A couple of golf club shots to the head, and he can’t win anything. 

    But unfortunately there are examples from the baseball world, too. Several years ago, the Houston Astros had a five tool CF star named Cesar Cedeno. The married Cedeno broke into the majors at age 19. Leo Durocher called him the next Willie Mays, because he could run, hit, hit with power, throw and was a terrific CF. He stole 50 bases and hit 20+ HRs, hit .320 two years in a row (1972 and 1973). He was a SuperStar, and on the path to the Hall of Fame. 

    And then…….. during the 1974 offseason, (after hitting 26 HRs and 102 RBIs), just a few days before Christmas, while he was having an affair with a 19 yr old woman in a Dominican hotel room, his gun went off and the bullet crashed through her head. She died immediately. Cedeno fled the scene, then turned himself in 8 hours later. He was later charged with involuntary manslaughter. 

    He never hit 20 HRs again, although he played for several more years. He started hitting HRs in the single digits.  His batting average dropped, although he did hit .309 one year. He went from being a SuperStar to an average everyday CF. 

    The life lesson: Starlin Castro needs to leave the drinking and the prostitutes and tramps alone.

    • Anthony

      Gonna get criticized once again, but here is something I would do to make a splash/statement, and it is based on my feeling that Castro will be moved off SS sooner than later, and whether his bat develops corner potential or not, his value may diminish.

      I would trade Castro and Byrd and another(Vitters/Lake) prospect or two to Atlanta for Heyward and Teheran, and maybe Pastornicky, whatever it would take to make the deal. They aren’t totally comfortable with Pastornicky at this point from what has been posted.

      ATL has a surplus of great SP’s waiting in the wings.

      Then, I would call Boston, and pound into them they need Garza to compete in the rough and tumble AL, and flip Pastornicky, if they want him also, in exchange for light hitting defensive SS Iglesias, SP Alex Wilson, SP Ranaudo, and either Middlebrooks or Brentz. They won’t trade Bogaerts, who will eventually be a corner. Include additional Cubs prospects and settle the deal and the compensation also.

      Go ahead a pay a ransom for the Centipede, what the heck, Theo makes those calls, and they must see something.

      You can move Barney over to SS to bridge the gap to Iglesias, and even if he remains a so-so hitter, many teams have won with stellar defense from SS.

      You are adding a young RF who has proven ability, had his soph slump, and should be a contributor.

      You are adding a #1 type SP in Teheran

      You are adding about a #2/3 SP prospect in Ranaudo

      You are adding a solid ready 4/5 in Alex Wilson

      Middlebrooks has potential, Brentz has power but approach issues.

      Teheran could gets out at the MLB level now. He doesn’t need to be rushed, we have 8, add Wilson, 9 guys shooting for 5 rotation spots, then insert Teheran in 2013 after Dempster is off the books, or traded at the 2012 break.

      1B LaHair leading to Rizzo(LaHair maybe to LF)
      2B Edgar Gonzalez or who wins the job(add Prado to deal)
      SS Barney leading to Iglesias
      3B Stewart leading to Baez/Middlebrooks
      LF Soriano until dealt leading to Jackson
      CF Centipede
      RF Heyward

      The illustration is just an example of splitting your two best trade chips, and you can create many scenarios, but this club called the Chicago Cubs needs to ADD by splitting.

      I am old fashioned when it comes to SS. Saw many of the greats play it, and the defense is worth losing a little on offense.

      Go ahead and bash away, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I don’t want a light-hitting anything, even if they can field. I don’t want Ronny Cedeno, and I don’t want Izturiz, either. I want a SS that can hit and field. 

        Nevertheless, I’d deal Castro IF*IF*IF I was blown away in a trade. I fear that this thing is going to affect his production in 2012.

    • paulcatanese

      Rip, you make a good point. As you mentioned there have been a number of off field escapades that have happened with other players on other teams over the years.
      Many of these have been overlooked or pushed aside because of the status of these players and they continued their careers untouched.

      I cannot imagine a young lady being killed by an off chance bullet  to the head could have been accidental, then again that happened in the Dominican Republic, and he was a star.

      The one single thing that may get Castro traded would be off field problems.

      I doubt very seriously that Epstien will put up with anything that would resemble the clubhouse that he left in Boston.
      Epstien knows that he cannot preach the “Cub Way” with any
      discipline problems, or problems in the press with any of the players, ala Zambrano.

      Their is no question that Castro needs to do what you have said in you’re last sentence. I would think that anything less than that he will be gone, and the point being that Epstien will do it before anything else comes to the surface and Castro’s value is still high.

      • Ripsnorter1

        They’ll call me a racist for this–but those that do don’t understand that Latinos are Caucasians…..but our Latin American players need some coaching to adapt to life in the USA. They sign a contract and suddenly have more money than any of their peers, and they often lack the maturity to steer clear of the pit falls of life here. 

        How about this: send them to a good church!

        From what I understand, Ryan Braun was taking steroids to combat herpes…..he could have used some coaching, too. 

      • Ripsnorter1

        They’ll call me a racist for this–but those that do don’t understand that Latinos are Caucasians…..but our Latin American players need some coaching to adapt to life in the USA. They sign a contract and suddenly have more money than any of their peers, and they often lack the maturity to steer clear of the pit falls of life here. 

        How about this: send them to a good church!

        From what I understand, Ryan Braun was taking steroids to combat herpes…..he could have used some coaching, too. 

        • John_CC

          Where do find this stuff? 

          Send him to a church. What if he doesn’t like church? 

          The Braun rumor is very interesting, where do you hear this one?

          The very best program that I have heard Epstein talk about, that he is going to implement with the Cubs, is the “orientation” so to speak, on basically how to behave when you are 20something years old and richer than you’d ever imagined.  Having a psychologist on staff to talk to young player. Teach them what sexual assault is.  Very positive model.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I saw that bit on Braun also, can’t remember where, but did see it.
            don’t know exactly what the treatment would be, but steriods sounds about right, I guess.

            On Castro, for a young twenty somthing player, it’s hard (no pun intended)with the advantages he has to make adjustments and as you say needs to or he will be thru one way or another.

            Above all, he needs to realize how and why he is here with the Cubs and try to put that above his personal wishes.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I saw that bit on Braun also, can’t remember where, but did see it.
            don’t know exactly what the treatment would be, but steriods sounds about right, I guess.

            On Castro, for a young twenty somthing player, it’s hard (no pun intended)with the advantages he has to make adjustments and as you say needs to or he will be thru one way or another.

            Above all, he needs to realize how and why he is here with the Cubs and try to put that above his personal wishes.

          • paulcatanese

            John, I saw that bit on Braun also, can’t remember where, but did see it.
            don’t know exactly what the treatment would be, but steriods sounds about right, I guess.

            On Castro, for a young twenty somthing player, it’s hard (no pun intended)with the advantages he has to make adjustments and as you say needs to or he will be thru one way or another.

            Above all, he needs to realize how and why he is here with the Cubs and try to put that above his personal wishes.

          • Ripsnorter1

            John,
            If he doesn’t like church, he can continue to live immorally and destroy his life, career and soul. Maybe he’d like that better, but I doubt it.

          • John_CC

            That’s a good one!

          • Ripsnorter1

            Herpes isn’t nice, either.

          • John_CC

            Fortunately, I wouldn’t know.

        • Agustinrexach

          True Rip, you will be called a racist for a dumb racist comment! But not by me lol!!!!
          Never mind that white Americans and Black ones need the same kind of coaching’ and some other stuff too!
          Josh Hamilton
          Ryan Braun
          Kobe Bryant
          Tiger Woods
          Roger Clemens
          Why not suggest that every professional sports player MUST have a College Degree instead of a Latino coaching?

          • Ripsnorter1

            Don’t forget that I said Ryan Braun needs some coaching, too. Let’s see…he’s from what part of Latin America?  LOL

          • Ripsnorter1

            Don’t forget that I said Ryan Braun needs some coaching, too. Let’s see…he’s from what part of Latin America?  LOL

          • Ripsnorter1

            I suggest Ryan Braun, from some unknown Latin American country, also needed some life coaching, too. 

  • Boots

    Noticed that Hak-Ju Lee is 46th on prospect list and Chris Archer is 74th. Now roughly a year after the Garza deal, it is starting to look like  Lee may turn out to be the better of the two in the deal. Obviously it is still to early to tell where these two end up, and what will come of Garza, but maybe this turns out to be a deal we look back on as a positive from the Hendry era. 

    Thoughts?

    • PleaseStopLosing

      I wish we wouldn’t have given up Hak-Ju Lee. I feel like he will be a player down the road that could really make us regret that trade. Especially since Garza’s years in Cubbie Blue have and will be wasted under that contract playing for a non-contender and we could have signed him as a FA agent after that anyways.

      If we could have had an infield of Baez at 3B, Lee at SS and Castro at 2B we could have potentially had the best in baseball with Rizzo at 1B. WOW.

      • daverj

        Lee was the hold up in the deal as Hendry did not want to part with him, but the Rays insisted it would take Lee to get it done.  Even if Garza doesn’t sign an extension, the Cubs will either (i) trade him and get back at least a prospect of Lee’s caliber, or (ii) have Garza for 3 years and then pick up a high draft pick when Garza signs elsewhere.

        Also, Lee is still a long ways off and hasn’t shown that he can hit yet.

        It was a good deal at the time and it’s still a good deal.

      • John_CC

        That is an enormous IF, and a ton of speculation.

      • Aaron

        If the Cubs deal Garza for a package similar to Turner, Castellanos and Smyly then i would say it was a good deal in the first place

      • Aaron

        If the Cubs deal Garza for a package similar to Turner, Castellanos and Smyly then i would say it was a good deal in the first place

  • daverj

    It’s a trade that neither team would make.  Cubs won’t deal Castro for  Heyward and Teheran and the Braves would not deal Heyward and Teheran for Castro.  Neither fan base would approve of a deal like that.  Neither ownership group would risk dealing a potential superstar.

  • joejoed

    Jeez, I’m all for old-school attitude, but Bosio kind of sounds ridiculous in that Trib article. He sounds pretty skeptical of advanced stats and info, which is pretty behind the times in this day and age of baseball. All you gotta do is see what the Rays have done with their elaborate defensive shifts and ipad-studying spray charts to castrate great hitters, and you can see that dinosaurs like Bosio are gonna have a hard time keeping up, especially with the staff the Cubbies’ll be marching out to the mound this year. What a strange pick for an organization hell-bent on a new cubbie way…

    • EqDoc

      Yea I read that article as well.  Not too sure I like the guy.  Doesn’t have much of a track record of success either…

    • ChadAudio

      I totally agree.  That article didn’t make me excited about Bosio either.  Oh well.

    • cc002600

      Yea, he is a meathead who just happens to be buddies with the right guy (Svuem)…..that’s how he got the job. Simple as that.

      I was at the convention and listened to that session with the coaches. Honestly, he looks and talks like a complete bonehead. I was not impressed at all.

      That old-school talk about “putting one in a guy’s ear-hole” is so tired.  You don’t have to kill a guy to send a message by throwing at someone’s head.  Its so stupid. 

    • ChadAudio

      I totally agree.  That article didn’t make me excited about Bosio either.  Oh well.

    • John_CC

      I don’t know, guys. I mean, he has no track record, and does sound like a bonehead, I agree there.

      But I do not mind a pitching coach with an “old school” mentality, i.e. not getting super bogged down on what pitch to throw in specific counts based on what a hitter is likely to do in that count.  That is little wonky for me.  “Get guys out” I like that. 

      The “earhole” stuff is stoopid.  He shouldn’t be allowed to talk to the media.

  • cubtex

    Ok…so today the Cubs outrighted Manny Corpas off 40 man roster to make room for Wood…..but kept Corpas on and left Bianchi unprotected(who got picked up) when they signed Maholm???? Very strange roster management. I never understood wasting a 40 man spot on either Corpas or Sonnanstine.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Face it: JED CLAMPETT is more incompetent than Jim Qlueless Hendry when it comes to roster “management.” 

      • John_CC

        Why say that?  They are just out picking up guys that might be of use. It was before they had a deal with Woody. So what. Now he has an invite to ST. Again, so what.  No harm no foul, right? 

        You guys are really obsessed.