White Sox to land Yoelqui Céspedes (sources)

December 22nd, 2020

Yoelqui Céspedes, MLB.com’s No. 1 international prospect -- and the younger half-brother of free-agent outfielder Yoenis Céspedes -- is expected to sign with the White Sox for a bonus near $2 million, according to industry sources.

The White Sox have not confirmed the deal.

Céspedes, 23, who was declared a free agent and eligible to sign with a Major League team March 18, will likely ink his deal on Jan. 15, 2021, the first day of the international signing period. The period was originally scheduled to begin on July 2, 2020, but was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Céspedes, who is considered a five-tool player with above-average tools across the board, defected from the Cuban National Team in June 2019 while participating in the Can-Am League in New York. He eventually established residency in the Bahamas.

While in Cuba, the outfielder played for his country’s World Baseball Classic and Caribbean Series teams. He also starred for Granma in Cuba’s Serie Nacional from 2015-17. The outfielder has added at least 15 pounds of muscle while improving his bat speed and power since he defected.

The White Sox are also expected to sign right-handed pitcher Norge Vera of Santiago, Cuba, who ranks No. 20 on the list.

The club’s connection to Cuba runs deep and dates back to Minnie Minoso in the 1950s. The list of stars from the island includes Jose Contreras and Orlando Hernandez. Last season, the White Sox made Major League Baseball history when the club batted a Cuban-born player -- Luis Robert, Yoán Moncada, José Abreu and Yasmani Grandal -- in each of the top four spots in the starting lineup.

Abreu won the 2020 American League Most Valuable Player Award and was named the '20 AL Hank Aaron Award winner. Robert won the AL Gold Glove Award for center field.