Miami Marlins Off-Season Update: Yoennis Cespedes hits market as Prince Fielder exits


January 24th, 2012 will probably be remembered as a historic day in baseball history. It is the day that a major free agent signed the fourth largest contract in Major League baseball. In some smaller scale news, Yoennis Cespedes finally gained citizenship in the Dominican and is eligible to be a free agent. It was a day that Miami Marlins fans will soon not forget, as it brought plenty of good news for them.

According to Joe Frisaro, NL East teams were rejoicing yesterday with the news that Prince Fielder decided to spurn the Washington Nationals and instead take his talents to the Detroit Tigers. Miguel Cabrera is going to changing positions again to accommodate the new acquisition.

This is just speculation on my part, but it will be interesting to see how Hanley Ramirez reacts to Cabrera’s abrupt willingness to move to third. Hanley is in a similar position after the Marlins earlier this off-season signed Jose Reyes. I believe Hanley will see this and see that what he is doing is in reality best for himself and the team moving forward. I saw an intersting question earlier on twitter and decided to make a poll for you guys:

Prince Fielder signing with the Tigers is not only good for the Marlins because it keeps him out of the NL East. The biggest pursuers of Yoennis Cespedes have been the Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins, and the Detroit Tigers. With the Tigers addition of Fielder, it likely takes them out of the sweepstakes. There are still rumored to be half a dozen teams interested, but the two to watch the closest likely remain the Marlins and Cubs.

With Cespedes gaining citizenship and the likely hood that he will be a free agent soon, MLB teams have asked him to stop playing in winter ball, where he went 5-35 with a home run.

The next couple of days should be interesting, in regards to who makes the biggest push to try and sign the Cuban defector. The Marlins are intent on outbidding all their opponents to acquire the outfielder.

Joe Frisaro tweeted that while the Marlins definetely have interest in Cespedes, the only question that remains for them is whether the he is a center fielder or a corner outfielder. If he is the latter, it sets up an interesting situation for the Marlins. Who would be the Marlins center fielder? What do you do with Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez.

I personally would package Gaby with Juan Carlos Oviedo and try to get a decent package in return. The team could then place Emilio Bonifacio in center and LoMo could then become the everyday first baseman. Not only would that move improve the offense, moving Morrison out of left field would improve the defense as well. From all indications thus far from the Marlins, you should expect Bonifacio to be an everyday player next season.

Arbitration Update:

The arbitration hearings have been set for Emilio Bonifacio and Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez will present his case to an arbitration panel on Feb. 3, while Bonifacio will have his hearing on Feb. 7.

Sanchez made $3.7 million in 2011, his second year of arbitration. Anibal is asking for $8 million and the team has countered with $6.9 million. I have no idea which side the arbitrator will pick, but it will be one of those two figures, nothing in between.

As for Bonifacio, he and the Marlins are $250,000. Although the difference is not much, you should not be expecting the Marlins to get anything done before the meeting. They have a history of letting the negotiations go to hearing after the arbitration deadline passes.

MLB Prospect Watch: has been taking a look at baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position. In the top 10 outfield prospect rankings, Marlins prospect, Christian Yelich, ranked sixth. Here is what had to say about him:

"6. Christian Yelich, Marlins: At age 19, Yelich finished in the top 10 in a host of offensive categories in the South Atlantic League, including finishing third in the batting race. He has a very good approach at the plate from the left side that should allow him to hit for average. Yelich’s power was a question mark, but it started showing up in games more in 2011, and there could be more in the tank. His speed makes him a basestealing threat and a solid outfielder, where he’s worked hard to improve his game. Yelich won a title in 2011 and will move up a level in ’12, but he could jump on the fast track this season."

That is all the updates I have for today. Please stay tuned to MarlinManiac for all news updates on Yoennis Cespedes and the Miami Marlins. Also check out Call to the Pen for some MLB news.