A lot of the focus this offseason has been on players like the latter, specifically on the biggest perceived prize, center fielder Yoennis Cespedes. Cespedes, a 26 year old slugger, hit .333 during this past Cuban National Series (the name for the Cuban season) with 33 home runs and has hit about 150 home runs since his debut during the 2003-2004 season. If that figure seems impressive to you because of the year, which would mean Cespedes debuted at 18 years old, it should, as there is much doubt about when Cespedes was actually born since it is difficult to find birth certificates from defectors. It is thought by many that he was actually born before 1985, which would make him older than his listed age of 26. Regardless of his age, there have been numerous teams connected to his signing since he defected this past summer, including the Miami Marlins, Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals, and the Phillies.
|Cespedes, likely crushing a ball into the Cuban stratosphere|
|The 6'3" Soler|
Whichever route the Phillies take, or even if they decided that neither is worth it, it is nice to see a team that has been known for its excellent scouting and development use its recent market expansion to develop foreign scouting, and it is even nicer to know that ownership now possesses the means to potentially turn this interest into a reality should they make that decision. Broad Street Marching will keep you posted with the latest news on these moves and any others that the team makes, so stay tuned.
UPDATE 12/3: Talks today according to MLB Trade Rumors state that the "Yankees, Tigers, and Marlins have been the clubs with the strongest interest in Cespedes" and that it could take "upwards of $50 million to sign him." This may seem to rule the Phillies out, but if you think back just one year, no one believed they were in on the signing race for a player who goes by the name of Cliff Lee, so stay tuned.