The bidding for Yoenis Cespedes can begin.
Major League Baseball informed teams today that Cespedes, a 26-year-old Cuban outfielder, is now a free agent. Cespedes recently received his Dominican residency, a prerequisite for MLB to declare him a free agent, and is now eligible to negotiate with teams. Word of Cespedes' defection began to circulate around early July last year, so the road to free agency has been a seemingly quick one for Cespedes, as many Cuban defectors have waited nearly a year or more for their paperwork to clear.
Update: According to the letter that MLB sent to teams, there still is one more step for Cespedes to officially sign, which is that he needs to obtain an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Until then, teams are allowed to negotiate with Cespedes' representatives but have been instructed "not to enter into agreement" until he gets unblocked. So he is a free agent and eligible to negotiate with MLB teams, but he still needs to get his unblocking license before the contract can be consummated.
Cespedes has been playing for the Aguilas in the Dominican League playoffs, where he went 5-for-35 (.143) with no walks, 10 strikeouts and one home run. Baseball America subscribers can access an in-depth scouting report on Cespedes from the scouts who have tracked him for years.
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