Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cespedes seems to like Miami...a lot.

Yoenis Cespedes met with officials of the Miami Marlins yesterday and got a tour of their new ballpark.

At this point, he doesn't appear to have any plans to meet with the Cubs (though that can't be confirmed)...but the more interesting thing is what Cespedes told reporters yesterday.

A few weeks ago, there was a report from CBS sports that said that Cespedes did not want to play in Miami.  I said straight up that I thought this was complete BS.  It was a poor piece of reporting from CBS sports that used third hand speculation.
Cespedes has told other teams that he would prefer not to play in Miami. He plans to make his home in the Dominican, rather than in Florida, and may believe that the huge Cuban community in South Florida would add too much pressure and too many distractions.
If you've seen the promotional video for Cespedes, I think it can be assumed that distractions are probably not something he'll have too much of a problem with.  This is a kid with a ton of confidence in his abilities and appears to be an extremely hard worker.  So yesterday Cespedes said quite the opposite of that report:
"It would be good (to play here). There are a lot of Cubans and they would support me a lot. Hopefully I can play for the Marlins."
Now this is Cespedes's first recruiting visit, so it is probably too early to read a ton into this statement, but the idea that he flat out does not want to play in Miami is just wrong.  He's going to go where he can best display his talents and get the best offer.  The Marlins are likely to step up here and make a serious stab at getting this kid and with Ozzie Guillen managing the team, he'll have someone that can help mentor him and adapt to living in this country (and teach him all the nuances of Twitter).

It is still possible that this Cuban defector will go somewhere else.  He will undoubtedly get offers from several other teams and possibly even the Cubs.  It is even possible that his statements yesterday we just a ploy to get other teams to up their offers, though this seems unlikely given Cespedes's inexperience with our culture, language and media.

The idea of Cespedes coming to a frozen Wrigley Field this April just doesn't seem likely with what some of these other teams can offer.  Cespedes will be quickly thrown into a pressure cooker somewhere and he'll probably want to take some comfort in his overall surroundings and the Cubs probably can't provide that at the moment.  But the Cubs have signed 3 other Cuban players this off-season.  The difference, thought, is that that these players will not be big league ready for a number of years yet (though the Cubs might be thinking differently with Gerardo Concepcion), so they will have time to develop and adapt to life here.

Obviously, I still feel the Cubs are not a likely destination for Cespedes and (as I've said before) I'm fine with that.  And with what we saw with his first visit to a potential suitor, any other team that is interested in him might have a hard sell.

Of course, I'm not sure any player would want to play in a stadium with this thing in the outfield...

So for those of you who want to see Cespedes in a Cubs uniform, there is still hope.