Maybe The M's can throw their hat (and extra moolah) into the ring for this guy:
There have been a number of teams lurking around him and he seems to have quite a bit of buzz coming out of Cuba. And unlike young guys like Yuni, he is a bit older and hopefully a lot closer to contibuting at the MLB level. I no nothing about him, but he seems to have some buzz and I am sure 10 million bucks or so would go a LONG way to convincing him to be a Mariner instead of a Cub ;)
When Cespedes decided to play in the Dominican League, the New York blog-o-sphere was stunned. What did he have to gain from that? Either he'd dominate, in which case he would be given an Aroldis Chapman $30M deal, or he'd flop, in which case there would follow questions and doubts.
Why play? Because ML teams are chasing Cespedes to start for them this year, Y. Cespedis CF on Opening Day 2012, and they told his agent that if he didn't play a little, then Cespedes could forget about it.
Baseball America has a video up, with commentary. Cespedes relaxes back onto his right hip and shoulder, the pitcher lets go a 97-mph fastball, Cespedes reads it leisurely and then EXPLODES onto the ball with a Sheffield-quick swing. The home run is majestic.
=== Be Still My Beating Heart, Dept. ===
You can't find a scout who doesn't think that Cespedes will hit 25, 30, maybe more home runs while playing a quality center field. Cespedes has a 45-inch vertical jump, much better than Blake Griffin's vertical, and without a doubt he's got the handspeed of an ML cleanup hitter.
He is most often comp'ed to Mike Trout, and his agent constantly references Aroldis Chapman money. Chapman got $30.25M for six years, so teams are hoping for a 4-5 WAR player at the cost of 1.0, 1.5 WAR. That's what the 2001-04 Mariners got with Ichiro, 6 WAR per season for the cost of 2 WAR, so it can happen.
.... it also can happen that Cespedes is a disappointment on the field and a gigantic donkey in the locker room. But he's a center fielder, asking for about $6M per year, so from a performance standpoint the risk is not daunting.
The Miami Marlins, for example, seem to have passed on Prince Fielder because they are focused on bringing the Cuban Cespedes to Miami. Cespedes lists himself as 25 years old and I'm sure he's 29 or so. You're talking about the international hitting verion of Yu Darvish. Yes, we know that Cuban ballplayers are hard to predict. So are NPB players.
Even the stodgy Baseball Prospectus joins the celebration, calling Cespedes "a fantastic prospect and a monster of an athlete." On the other hand Cespedes is a truly bizarre personality, one who is misogynistic -- not PC misogynistic, but actually misogynistic -- even by NFL or rapper standards, and who is narcissistic enough to makes Terrell Owens look like Dustin Ackley.
Does Jay-Z know anybody who needs a center fielder?