According to Jesse Sanchez, the market for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is becoming clearer.
Yoenis Cespedes market taking shape. Source: CWS & BAL emerging as leaders for now. LAA & SFG also in the mix with TX monitoring situation.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) December 29, 2015
In 676 plate appearances last season, Cespedes hit .291/.328/.542 with a wOBA of .367, a wRC+ of 135, and an fWAR of 6.7. He clubbed 35 home runs, scored 101 runs, and drove in 105, all of which were career highs. Cespedes is coming off his age 29 season, and is looking for a six-year deal.
Sanchez reports that the White Sox and Orioles are "emerging as leaders", and of the five teams mentioned, those two undoubtedly make the most sense. Chicago's outfield was just league average on the offensive side of things; however defensively they were a mess.
As for Baltimore, their outfield was terrible on both sides of the ball, and if they can't or choose not to re-sign Chris Davis, Cespedes would help make up for the loss of production.
While Sanchez mentions five teams that are still interested in Cespedes, a few days ago Bob Nightengale reported that Detroit could still be in the mix.
The #Tigers appear to be sitting back waiting for Yoenis Cespedes, whose price may be dropping.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 24, 2015
The Tigers already added Cameron Maybin to their 2016 outfield, but they still have a need in left field. As of now, the depth starters listed are Anthony Gose, Maybin, Tyler Collins, and Mike Aviles. If Cespedes' price tag is indeed falling, it wouldn't be out of character to see Mike Illitch authorize an increase in payroll in order to sign the free agent slugger.
It's unclear how advanced any of these talks might be with Cespedes, but at the very least, his market is beginning to define itself.