Yoenis Cespedes, a Cuban center fielder who has recently defected, is nearly ready to be declared a free agent and according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports the Yankees are very interested in the 26-year-old.
The Yankees have had mixed results when dealing with Cuban free agents. Of course they signed El Duque, Orlando Hernandez back in the 90’s and he was an integral piece of multiple World Series titles. They also signed Jose Contreras for a boatload of money and he turned out to be a bust and was eventually traded away.
I doubt Contreras would scare them away from Cespedes though as he is an outfielder. It’s a bit different than a pitcher as it would be easier to judge how he would perform in the states and would be less of an injury risk.
Passan wrote that Cespedes compares favorably to Leonys Martin, another Cuban outfielder who recently signed with the Texas Rangers for $15.5 million. So his asking price of $30 million may not be out of the question.
By the way, the best thing about Cespedes is probably this promotional video: