MLB Free Agency 2012: 3 Reasons Yoenis Cespedes May Not Join Chicago White Sox
Yoenis Cespedes is the current hot item on the free agent market. The Chicago White Sox are among a handful of teams pursuing the Cuban center fielder. Now, White Sox fans shouldn't get too excited about the prospect of Kenny Williams signing Cespedes.
Cespedes seems somewhat unlikely to sign with the White Sox. The 26-year-old YouTube star might be too pricey for Williams' tab. Besides, other teams may be more interested.
Follow along for an explanation of those and other reasons why Williams likely won't present Cespedes with a White Sox jersey when the chase is finished.
Kenny Williams Seems to Be Unable to Spend Any More Money
Yoenis Cespedes may be too pricey a player for Kenny Williams to sign with the White Sox trying to trim payroll.
Cespedes might be in for a big payday. The Washington Post projected that he would cost between $30 and $50 million. In an article for MLB.com, Peter Gammons predicted that Cespedes would receive a five-year contract worth between $50 and $60 million.
Meanwhile, FanGraphs estimated that a realistic contract for Cespedes would be four years and $22 million.
The higher estimates would certainly be out of the question for Williams. Even the FanGraphs' estimate might be too high a price to pay to bring Cespedes to the White Sox.
The White Sox are strapped right now. They are looking to trim the payroll to between $90 and $95 million for this season. Already, they have traded Sergio Santos, Carlos Quentin and Jason Frasor to cut upwards of $12 million. By not re-signing Mark Buehrle, the White Sox also avoided a likely $14 million more for the payroll.
Mark Gonzales quoted Williams via Twitter as saying the White Sox are "maxed out" as far as spending for the major league roster is concerned.
That doesn't make Chicago sound like a realistic player in the Cespedes derby.
Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs Are More Likely to Sign Cespedes
Miami has hotly pursued big names this offseason. Before the 2011 season even started, they acquired Ozzie Guillen from the White Sox and paid him $4 million to manage the club.
The offseason saw the Marlins sign Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell and Jose Reyes to big contracts.
The Marlins have already met with Cespedes, and they might have the inside track since they're the first team to meet with him. That Cespedes could return to the Dominican Republic on Thursday without any planned meetings with other teams this week could indicate satisfaction with the Marlins presentation.
Meanwhile, the Cubs are also positioning themselves well for Cespedes. While the Cubs are rebuilding to start the Theo Epstein era, they're clearing space for Cespedes. They dealt Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins, let Aramis Ramirez sign with the Milwaukee Brewers and held themselves to modest signings. Also, the Cubs could still trade Matt Garza.
Moreover, Cespedes likes the Cubs. He told the Associated Press in January that the Cubs were his favorite. While that might have changed after his meeting with Marlins officials, Cespedes could still have the Cubs high on his radar.
That leaves the White Sox in the rear-view mirror. One might wonder if or when Williams might meet with Cespedes. In late January, Jim Bowden ranked the possible teams for Cespedes via Twitter, and the White Sox placed fourth. That's not a good place to be when trying to get his attention.
Alex Rios Might Not Cede His Starting Place in Center Field
One possibility keeping Kenny Williams from signing Yoenis Cespedes may be his prior commitment in center field. Williams might prefer to have Alex Rios start rather than Cespedes, whenever he comes up to the majors. Rios is an expensive player, earning $12.5 million per year. Since he carries such a large figure, Williams may keep him in the lineup rather than insert Cespedes.
Cespedes may take time in the minor leagues before being ready to start for the White Sox if they sign him. Even if Cespedes takes two or three years to develop in the minor leagues, Williams may decide to stick it out with Rios. Rios is under contract with the White Sox through 2014 and is difficult to trade since he's due $500,000 if traded.
Even if Rios doesn't recover from having the second worst on-base percentage in the majors in 2011, Williams might stick with him until his contract is up. That's even if Cespedes were to become better than Rios.
Williams and Ozzie Guillen argued about starting highly paid players who underperformed, and Williams often won with Rios and Adam Dunn starting rather than players preferred by Guillen.