Friday, February 10, 2012

Cepedes intrigue much like Tim Tebow fascination.

The intrigue of Major League Baseball and Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes is becoming much like the story that captured the attention of the NFL world this fall, Tim Tebow.
After Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder signed huge contracts, my guess is that the most discussed story in baseball is Cespedes, in the same manner many people discussed and dissected the Tim Tebow.

Not in a literal sense, mind you, because unlike Tebow, whose life has become an open book for all to read, the Cepedes story is full of mostly speculation and guess work.

Starting with this question:  What kind of player will he be?

ESPN posed that very question and came up with the following.  (the article is limited to access for ESPN Insiders so I will share some of the highlights, rather than post a link)

A group of MLB Executives were asked if they would choose Cepedes over similar “toolsy’ 20-something outfielders; Colby Rasmus, Drew Stubbs, B.J. Upton, Chris Young and Adam Jones in the following scenario: You can choose Cespedes or each of the current MLB OF for the remainder of their career, (contract and finances not figuring in the equation).  The bottom line is that most would choose the current MLB players over Cespedes, but it would be close. 

Interestingly enough, as I believe we have posted here on Tiger Tizzy, the consensus of the writers at Baseball America, would rank Cepedes as the top prospect of the teams that are considered in the running to land him.  The following teams have been linked to the Cuban who now lives in the Dominican Republic:  The Tigers, Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.  Of those teams, the 6 most likely suitors in my estimation of where he would sign; are Miami, Chicago (Cubs or Sox), Baltimore, Detroit and Cleveland. 

Cespedes was in Miami and toured the new Marlins ballpark and met with team officials on Thursday, but has since left the country to return to the D.R.  According to the Detroit News, the Tigers are still interested but the team is refusing to comment much on Cespedes, except to confirm that he didn’t visit Detroit. 

Dombrowski did however have a discussion regarding the Tigers defense.  His feeling is that the Tigers can indeed field a “good defensive club” if the decision is made to do so.  The expectation is that with signing Prince Fielder and moving Miguel Cabrera to 3B, and with Delmon Young in LF, that on most nights Detroit will chose an offensive flavored lineup.  On Tuesday, Dombrowski stated; “We’re going to hit, and that’s how we’re going to win or lose”. 

In posting a February wrap-up yesterday, I forgot to include that the Tigers had signed IF Brent Dlugach to a minor league contract on Feb 4.  Dlugach spent last season hitting .222 in 236 plate appearances with Boston’s Triple-A affiliate.  Dlugach had previously spent his first 7 seasons playing in the Tigers farm system.

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