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Yoenis Cespedes establishes residency in Dominican Republic, already a free agent?

Jan 24, 2012, 8:57 PM EDT

Yoenis Cespedes AP AP

UPDATE: That was fast. Dionisio Soldevila of the Associated Press was told by Cespedes’ representative, Edgar Mercedes, that not only has the Cuban outfielder established residency in the Dominican Republic, he has also officially been granted free agency by MLB. In fact, Cespedes stopped playing in the Dominican Winter League playoffs at the urging of MLB teams.

We haven’t heard any clarification from MLB on the matter, so it’s possible Mercedes may have jumped the gun, but it’s safe to say things are about to heat up.

6:26 PM: While the Prince Fielder sweepstakes has finally reached a resolution, the bidding for Yoenis Cespedes is just about to begin.

Cespedes’ representative, Edgar Mercedes, told Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com that the Cuban outfielder has finally established residency in the Dominican Republic. He is now waiting on approval from MLB to become a free agent.

Cespedes recently told Dionisio Soldevila of the Associated Press that the Cubs, Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Tigers and Indians have shown the most interest in him. However, it’s possible the Tigers will be less willing to pony up after agreeing to a nine-year, $214 million contract with Fielder earlier today. Still, most expect the 26-year-old outfielder will end up with a contract richer than the $30.25 million deal Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman signed with the Reds two years ago.

Cespedes, 26, recently went 5-for-35 (.143) with one home run and a 10/0 K/BB ratio during a stint with Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League playoffs. While it’s unlikely the poor performance will have a significant impact on his asking price, it wouldn’t be surprising if he needs some seasoning in the minor leagues.

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