Yoelqui Céspedes, MLB.com’s No. 1 international prospect -- and the younger half-brother of free-agent outfielder Yoenis Céspedes -- is expected to sign with the White Sox for a bonus near $2 million, according to industry sources.
The White Sox have not confirmed the deal.
Céspedes, 23, who was declared a free agent and eligible to sign with a Major League team March 18, will likely ink his deal on Jan. 15, 2021, the first day of the international signing period. The period was originally scheduled to begin on July 2, 2020, but was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here's the not-so-newsworthy news dump of the day - the White Sox just added to their still strong farm system by adding the best LatAm talent in this international class, Yoelqui Cespedes. Cespedes, along with fellow Cuban Oscar Colas, have been rumored to have an agreement in principal for a while now, and now it will be official come next month.
Let's start with this: what do I know about Yoelqui Cespedes? Welllll..... not a whole lot. I know what I know about him via watching him on YouTube:
And his MLB Pipeline Profile:
Now, Cespedes is pretty much the consensus #1 LatAm player available and the people concocting these rankings have a LOT more eyeballs on him than I do, so everything I say here should be taken with a grain of salt as it's all second hand info (obviously, big big obviously)
Anyways, what I see here is this:
- someone who is going develop a ton of gap/HR power
- someone who is going to walk at at a pretty low clip and swing at a LOT of pitches
- someone who is going to strike out at a decently high clip
- someone who will probably sit around a .270 average through his prime
All of which is fine. His hands are lightning fast; he has a pretty good sized room for error due to how fast his hands are and his nice swing path:
It stays in the zone for a LONG time in spite of how quick it gets through it; I know that's sort of an oxymoron, but his barrel being in the zone as much as it is paired with his nice lil uppercut should one day lead to a lot of dingers. Love that. I could see him being an above average regular in due time. Something like a .270/.315/.525 slash with 25 home runs, a lot of doubles and a lot of strike outs. That's more than fine with me and should be more than fine with you.
But his signing has a few other implications. Now, I am FAR from adept on the rules of International finances and the money side of baseball in general, but James Fox of FutureSox and other publications is. To get a really in depth idea of what this signing means, click the link below:
It sounds like the White Sox could have not only signed Cespedes during this signing period, but fellow Cuban phenom Oscar Colas too:
TL/DR - the White Sox traded "fake" international money in order to get other teams to pay buyouts to players they didn't want to keep anymore. It looks as if that may have impeded the Sox from getting both Cespedes and Colas in the same international class this winter. Reinsdorf doing Reinsdorf things!!! So infuriating, but it is what it is. Hopefully Colas stays patient and waits until the 2021-22 class to sign with the Sox…
…which, per Ben Badler, is still possible per the article above ($$$) but looks those possibilities are dwindling:
If Colas goes elsewhere, trading that international money to get teams to pay buyouts is officially a really stupid fucking move.
NEVERTHELESS… the White Sox are better today than they were yesterday. In the end, that's all that matters. Cespedes is already 23, so I'm assuming he'll fly through the system and arrive sometime in 2022/23. What I'm assuming will happen with him is he's eventually used as trade bait at the deadline for the best possible starting pitcher available though. He has the pedigree that can headline a deal for a big name. Not if, but when the White Sox make that move, they'll officially be all in on gunning for a World Series title.