DALLAS -- The Orioles have entered the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes, as manager Buck Showalter and Fred Ferreira, executive director of international recruiting, will head to the Dominican Republic this weekend for a private workout by the Cuban outfielder.
The Phillies, Nationals, Tigers, Blue Jays, White Sox, Red Sox, Cubs and Marlins have all expressed strong interest in signing Cespedes, and that list could expand when he becomes a free agent, possibly as early as the end of the month, said Edgar Mercedes, who advises him.
Cespedes, who is represented by Adam Katz, is 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 that 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, he 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 later, 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 that season. Last May the Rangers signed Leonys Martin to a five-year, $15.5 million deal, including a $5 million signing bonus.