According to Danny Knobler of CBS, the White Sox are showing serious interest in Cuban outfield prospect, Yoenis Cespedes. I have been on this bandwagon ever since I saw his first of two videos. I liked him so much I signed him in my "If I Ran the White sox" post back on November 20th.
So why should the Sox sign this guy?
Although those videos were edited heavily, there is no mistaking the athletic ability this guy has. From his build, to his amazing leaping and obvious power to all fields, Cespedes is clearly a machine.
He is the best outfielder left on the market, and although the Sox have a bunch of outfielders on the roster, the fact that we have Alejandro De Aza and Brent Lillibridge shouldn't stop anyone from pursuing a guy like this. Lets face it, the White Sox need as much talent as they can get, regardless of position.
He is 26 years old. Even if you sign him for 6 years, he will only be 32 when the contract ends. That means you get him through all of his prime years.
Even though the White Sox farm system is at the bottom of most lists and their international scouting has been a joke in recent seasons, one place the White Sox have had more success than anyone else is out of the Cuban market. Alexei Ramirez has easily been the best of all the recent Cuban position players, and Dayan Viciedo is ready to crack the lineup on a full time basis. Cespedes and his representatives most likely have taken notice of this, and I am sure that having Ramirez and Viciedo on the team would be an added bonus for Yoenis to join the White Sox.
I wasn't a fan of Ozzie Guillen by any means but one thing is for certain, without him there is absolutely no excitement as far as personalities go on the team. Judging by the videos, this guy could bring some major excitement both on and off the field to a team that desperately needs a bit of a jolt. In fact, Jim recently did a two part story on another Cuban outfielder who provided such a thing to the White Sox.
Now is the part where you might say "OK KenWo, this is all well and good, but the White Sox are strapped for cash and need to dump salary, not get into a bidding war".
While it is true the White Sox needed to cut their payroll from last season, they have already done some of that. With Mark Buehrle leaving and Juan Pierre, Ramon Castro, Omar Vizquel and Sergio Santos being replaced by league minimum type guys, they have already shaved that down somewhere near 17 million (could be a little more or less depending on how the Danks contract is shaped). Add in the fact that Carlos Quentin is likely to be traded and that knocks it down some more. Bringing in Cespedes would still allow the Sox to be 15 million cheaper for 2012 than they were in 2011. In 2013, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jason Frasor and Will Ohman come off of the books. In 2014, Paul Konerko and Matt Thornton are off and in 2015, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios are gone. There is plenty of money for Cespedes.
If one more reason is needed for Kenny to sign this guy, it is that according to some reports, the Tigers and Marlins are the other two teams thought of to be the most serious. So if you don't sign him, he may very well be suiting up for the Tigers. I wouldn't want to face him 18 times a year for the next 6 years. I also wouldn't want Ozzie to get another target of mine.
So make it happen Kenny. Use Ramirez, Viciedo, El Duque, Contreras or Minoso to help sway this guy to the South Side. It will make things a lot more interesting if you do.
*Merry Christmas to all. I hope the Holidays bring joy and create great memories for each of you and all of your families.