Oscar Colás Intends to Sign with an MLB Team

Oscar Colás could be playing Major League Baseball soon…

The 21-year-old Cuban outfielder/pitcher, hailed as one of the best baseball talents to emerge from Cuba in recent years, has left the island and intends to sign a contract with a major league team, sources familiar with his plans tell ESPN.

Oscar Colás

Colás spent most of the last three years in Japan, playing in the minor leagues for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He made his Japanese Leaguedebut in 2019 and homered in his first at-bat after hitting .300/.353/.511 as a 20-year-old in the highest level of the minors.

At 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Colás projects as a power-hitting left-handed outfielder, and could be a lefty pitcher as well. Scouts who have seen Colás in recent years question his ability to become a full-time, two-way player but said his fastball, which runs up to 95 mph, is of high enough quality to allow him to try to play both ways.

The biggest question among teams who found out Friday of Colás’ defection: When does he plan to sign? Much of the money from teams’ hard-capped bonus pools in the 2019-20 international signing period has been spent, according to sources. If Colás wants the multi-million dollar bonus his talent warrants, he might have to wait until July 2, when the new international signing period begins and teams’ bonus pools are refreshed, according to sources.

Colás is not the only top-end talent available from Cuba. Right-hander Norge Carlos Vera, the 19-year-old son of longtime Cuban pitcher Norge Luis Vera, is expected to sign in July. And Yoelkis Cespedes, the 22-year-old brother of New York Metsoutfielder Yoenis Cespedes, defected in June and could sign anytime.

Cespedes Hits Three Homers in New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies Game

It’s a three-ja vu for Yoenis Cespedes

The 31-year-old Cuban professional baseball player for the New York Mets, nicknamed La Potencia, showed his potency at the place by hitting has three home runs in five innings against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes fell down on a wild swing on the first pitch he saw, then hit a three-run homer to straightaway center field off Clay Buchholz in the first inning. He connected to deep left in the fourth off reliever Adam Morgan and drove another one way out to left in the fifth against Morgan.

Cespedes hit three homers once before, against the Colorado Rockies, on August 21, 2015.

He entered Tuesday’s contest with one homer in the first seven games of this new season.

Quintana Named to American League All-Star Team

It’s a special first for Jose Quintana

The 27-year-old Colombian professional baseball player, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, has replaced the Cleveland IndiansDanny Salazar on the American League All-Star roster.

Jose Quintana

A first-time All-Star, Quintana is 7-8 with a 3.21 ERA, sixth in the AL at the start of Sunday. He joins teammate Chris Sale on the AL roster.

Kansas City‘s Wade Davis, Boston‘s Craig Kimbrel and Toronto‘s Marco Estrada also were dropped from the AL pitching staff because of injuries, and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez were added.

In the National League, Los AngelesClayton Kershaw and New York‘s Noah Syndergaard got hurt and won’t pitch, along with Stephen Strasburg, who just came off the disabled list, and San Francisco‘s Madison Bumgarner, who starts Sunday. New York’s Bartolo Colon, San Diego‘s Drew Pomeranz and Washington‘s Max Scherzer were added.

In the infield, Aledmys Diaz replaced St. Louis teammate Matt Carpente. In the outfield, Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce and Pittsburgh‘s Starling Marte replaced the Mets’ Yoenis Cespedes and Chicago‘s Dexter Fowler.

Miami‘s Marcell Ozuna and Colorado‘s Carlos Gonzalez entered the starting lineup in place of Cespedes and Fowler.

Top Cuban Prospect Armenteros Agrees to Deal with Oakland Athletics

Lazaro Armenteros is headed to the West Coast…

The Oakland Athletics landed the 17-year-old baseball phenom, a versatile outfielder and top Cuban prospect, after he agreed to terms with the team on Saturday.

Lazaro Armenteros

Armenteros receives a $3 million signing bonus from Oakland, which originally signed Cuban Yoenis Cespedes before the 2012 season.

The A’s also agreed to terms with four Dominican players — third baseman George Bell, shortstops Marcos Brito and Yerdel Vargas, and center fielder Kevin Richards. Each of the new acquisitions will report to the club’s Dominican training facility and later to Arizona for instructional league this fall.

A’s assistant general manager and scouting chief Dan Feinstein took the lead on acquiring Armenteros, nicknamed Lazarito. The A’s have been watching him seriously for two years.

“It’s exciting. The scouts and Dan really did a great job with this,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Quite the find getting Lazarito. … I did see a picture where he looks pretty cut up physically.”

Armenteros, a right-handed hitter with speed and a body Feinstein likened to that of “a young Frank Thomas,” batted .462 for Cuba in the 15-and-under World Cup in Mexico two years ago. He hit .416 with a league-leading six home runs in Cuba’s 15-and-under league.

“To say we are excited to add this level of talent to our minor league system would be an understatement,” Feinstein said. “Our International scouts work tirelessly throughout the year, and it’s great to see those efforts rewarded.”

Gonzalez Receiving Interest from Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals & San Francisco Giants

The future looks bright for Carlos Gonzalez

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, is reportedly getting interest from the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, according to ESPN.

Carlos Gonzalez

Gonzalez started the season on a slow start in 2015, hitting .219 with four home runs through May, but belted 27 home runs in the second half and finished with a .271/.325/.540 batting line with 40 home runs. After an injury-plagued 2014, that strong second half rebuilt his trade value, and now the Rockies are listening to offers.

With two years left on his contract at $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017, Gonzalez could be an attractive, shorter-term outfield option for those teams wary of giving $100 million-plus to Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes or betting an Alex Gordon to remain productive into his mid-30s.

Gonzalez would be an obvious fit for all three teams that have shown interest: The Nationals are currently counting on Jayson Werth, coming off a .685 OPS season, and Michael Taylor, who posted a .640 OPS as a rookie; the Cardinals just lost Jason Heyward and could use a power bat, and they could put Gonzalez in right field and play Stephen Piscotty at first base; the Giants are looking for a left fielder.

Gonzalez’s value is also very difficult to peg. He played just 180 games in 2013 and 2014 combined, and everyone is going to point to his home/road splits: Over the past three seasons, he has a .952 OPS at Coors Field, .780 on the road. If teams are going to discount Gonzalez because of that, are the Rockies better off just hanging on to him? There’s also the possibility that those splits are overblown, that if Gonzalez is traded then what I call the “Coors Effect” will go away and the splits will normalize. The bigger concern may be that Gonzalez hasn’t hit lefties well in recent seasons, including 2015, when he had a .530 OPS against them.

Still, he’s a 30-homer bat if he stays healthy and a capable defender in a corner outfield position. If I’m one of those teams above, I like the idea of trading prospects for Gonzalez rather than spending big money on one of the free agents.

Morales Hits Three Home Runs Against the Detroit Tigers to Set New Royals Record

It’s one, two, three slams for Kendrys Morales

The 31-year-old Cuban professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter, who signed a lucrative, two-year deal with the Kansas City Royals last offseason, enjoyed what might have been the best offensive game of his Major League Baseball career, hitting three home runs in his team’s 10-3 win Sunday over the Detroit Tigers.

Kendrys Morales

Morales also hit a triple and set a team record with 15 total bases.

“We expected him to have a great year,” said Royals manager Ned Yost.

Morales homered in the third, fourth and eighth innings, becoming the first Kansas City player to go deep three times in a game since Danny Tartabull against Oakland on July 6, 1991.

Morales ended up scoring five times on the day, but he was on deck when Eric Hosmer flied out and ended the top of the ninth.

The Royals won the American League pennant last year, but they finished last in the majors in home runs. They’ve shown more pop in 2015, thanks in part to Morales, who took over the team lead in homers Sunday with 21. Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez have 20 each.

“It’s not about competition, it’s just about putting up good ABs and everybody doing their part,” Morales said through a translator.

Morales became the second player with 15 total bases in a game this season. Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets did it at Colorado on Aug. 21.

George Brett held the previous Royals record of 14 total bases. He did it in a 16-inning game in 1979.

Cespedes Seeking Long-Term Contract with New York Mets

It appears Yoenis Cespedes is looking for a long-term commitment…

A recent waiver will allow the New York Mets to negotiate with the 29-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and free-agent-to-be throughout the offseason.

Yoenis Cespedes

It nonetheless will require a long-term commitment to re-sign him.

Cespedes will be seeking a contract of at least six years this winter, according to ESPN Deportes.

“My only hope is to stay healthy,” Cespedes said. “I’m not thinking about a contract, but I do know that I will be looking for a contract that is six years or more, has to be six years or more. We’ll see what happens.”

Asked if he thinks he will remain in New York, Cespedes said, “At the moment I’m not thinking about any of that … I’d say 50-50. We’ll see after the season ends.”

Cespedes, an outfielder, is hitting .289 with 17 homers and 42 RBIs in 44 games since being acquired from the Detroit Tigers on July 31 for minor league right-handers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. That performance has propelled Cespedes into the conversation for National League MVP.

Cespedes thought he was ineligible for the award after hearing many suggest he should not be considered because he has been with the Mets for only the final two months of the season. Told he actually is eligible, Cespedes nonetheless said a player who has been in the NL the entire season should receive the award.

Tomas to Join the Arizona Diamondbacks

Yasmany Tomas has 68-million reasons to love the Grand Canyon State…

The 24-year-old Cuban slugger has agreed to a six-year deal worth $68.5 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a report by MLB.com.

Yasmany Tomas

The report, which cites industry sources, states that the deal is believed to include an opt-out clause after four years.

Tomas would become the latest Cuban star to sign a lucrative contract with a major league team, joining Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo, Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman.

Tomas, a corner outfielder, has spent a portion of the last seven years playing for the Havana Industriales. He batted .375 (6 for 16) for Cuba with two homers and five RBIs in last year’s World Baseball Classic.

In total dollars among Cuban players, Tomas’ deal would fall just short of the $72.5 million, seven-year contract agreed to in August between Castillo and the Boston Red Sox. The $11.42 million average would be just above Abreu’s $11.33 million average in the $68 million, six-year deal he agreed to with the Chicago White Sox in October 2011. Abreu went on to win AL Rookie of the Year.

Cespedes Wins the Home Run Derby Crown for Second Straight Year

Yoenis Cespedes’ reign at the Home Run Derby continues…

The 28-year-old Cuban baseball star, an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics, has become the first repeat winner of the All-Star skills contest in 15 years.

Yoenis Cespedes

Cespedes powered his way past the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier 9-1 in the final round Monday night to successfully defend his title.

Ken Griffey Jr. was the last back-to-back winner, taking the title in 1998 and 1999.

With a serious, determined look on his face the entire time, Cespedes finished with 28 homers. That was four fewer than last year, when he beat the Washington NationalsBryce Harper 9-8 in the final round.

Cespedes even told Athletics teammate Josh Donaldson he was doing this wrong.

“I knew he wasn’t going to win because his mentality was to take the ball out of the stadium, and I told him that is not the way you win this competition,” Cespedes said through an interpreter.

He added: “I’m somebody who’s very conscious of the power that I have. So I don’t need to put more of a swing or more of an effort in order to hit a home run. I just have to look for a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and it usually takes care of it.”

Cespedes saved his best for last, a 452-foot blast to the third deck above left field that officially measured as the longest shot of the night.

A’s third-base coach Mike Gallego again pitched to Cespedes, who went deep 32 times in last year’s derby at Citi Field in New York. Gallego’s arm looked nearly out of gas by the final round.

“Maybe next year I’ll put up a better showing at the end,” Frazier said. “Now that I understand, maybe I’ll do a couple of more push-ups.”

Cespedes topped Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Frazier surprisingly beat Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton in the semifinals.

Bautista to Captain the American League’s Home Run Derby Team

It’s batter up for José Bautista

The 33-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a right fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, will serve as the American League’s captain for the Home Run Derby.

José Bautista

Bautista, the 2010 and 2011 MLB home run champion and a five-time Major League Baseball All-Star, will have some star power on his team. He’s selected reigning derby champ and Oakland Athletics’ star Yoenis Cespedes, the Minnesota TwinsBrian Dozierand the Baltimore OriolesAdam Jones as the top three picks for his team.

They’ll face off a Nation League team that includes captain and Colorado Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki, and his top three picks: the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier, the Los Angeles DodgersYasiel Puig and the Miami MarlinsGiancarlo Stanton.

An additional fifth member will be named to each team on Thursday.

“Bunch of guys with a lot of power,” Tulowitzki said of his team. “More than that, I think they’re good guys, got to know them throughout the years.”

Stanton is the only player in the National League group that ranks in the top five in the majors in home runs with 21 entering play Tuesday night, but he is the NL-leader in the category.

That means that only one member of the remaining top five home run hitters in the league will be added to Bautista’s side. He has a choice of Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz (28), the Chicago White Sox‘s Jose Abreu (27) and Detroit TigersVictor Martinez (21).

Bautista’s Toronto teammate Edwin Encarnacion is third in the league with 26 home runs, but is currently on the disabled list. Martinez might also bow out of the running as he’s been held out of recent games due to injury.

Fellow Tiger Miguel Cabrera (14) and Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout (20) have already said they will not participate in the contest, which will be held Monday night on ESPN from Minnesota’s Target Field.

Stanton, Tulowitzki (18) and Frazier (17) are all in the top five in homers in the National League along with the Chicago CubsAnthony Rizzo (18) and Philadelphia PhilliesMarlon Byrd (18).

Also a possibility for the final NL spot is Tulowitzki’s teammate and former Minnesota Twinsplayer Justin Morneau. Morneau is a candidate in the Final Vote to make the All-Star team.

“If he wins that final vote, there’s possibly a chance,” Tulowitzki said. “I think it would make a storyline. Played with the Twins all those years. He’s definitely on the list if he makes the team. There are some other guys as well that have lobbied and would be good choices.”