The Miami Marlins might not be done with their dramatic off-season roster overhaul. Having acquired Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell, the Fish are ready to make a move for Cuban phenom Yoennis Cespedes.
Team president David Samson appeared on 790 AM's The Dan LeBatard Show on Wednesday afternoon, saying the Marlins will make an aggressive puch to sign Cespedes if and when Major League Baseball grants him free agency.
"We think he's a perfect fit for us," Samson said. The Marlins are uncertain at centerfield. Former Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan started Opening Day in 2011, and was expected to hold that spot for the rest of the season, if not the long run.
Instead, he ended the season in the minors, with Mike Cameron and Bryan Petersen each getting stints at center in his place. Cameron was released late in the season, and Petersen appears to be nothing more than a fourth outfielder.
Cespedes, on the other hand, is a 26-year-old the New York Times described as "built like Bo Jackson [with] Vladimir Guerrero’s swing." The Marlins were first reported to be interested in Cespedes in November. Samson said the team had visited him in the Dominican Republic, where he currently has residency.
On January 6, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported the league office is expected to grant Cespedes free agency on January 15. Citing league insiders, he said Cespedes could get a 4-year deal worth around $32 million on the open market.
"We think he should be nowhere except Miami," Samson said of Cespedes."It just makes perfect sense for him to be here ... we have a perfect position for him to play, and it would be great."
He thinks the Marlins could indeed sign him. "I feel pretty good" about that possibility.
With a revamped starting rotation and batting order, adding Cespedes could mke the Marlins a bona fide playoff contendor in 2012 and beyond. Only two seasons ago, the team traded Cody Ross for nothing in order to avoid paying the remaining $1 million on his contract.
How the tables have turned.