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Marlins 'aggressively negotiating' with Cespedes

Marlins 'aggressively negotiating' with Cespedes

Marlins 'aggressively negotiating' with Cespedes
MIAMI -- The Marlins continue to have strong interest in outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who could start visiting prospective teams in the next few weeks.

Marlins president David Samson said on Thursday that he isn't sure if Cespedes will visit Miami.

"If it can be arranged, and he wants to come to Miami and see our ballpark, it would be great," Samson said. "From our standpoint, we are aggressively negotiating a contract, but there is no way of knowing if we will be a high bidder."

Last week, Cespedes obtained temporary residency in the Dominican Republic, and he was cleared by Major League Baseball to negotiate with teams. The White Sox, Cubs, Marlins, Orioles and Tigers reportedly have been linked to the Cuban-born outfielder.

Although Cespedes is talking with various clubs, Samson said a team can't officially sign him at this point.

"He has not been officially 'unblocked' by governmental entities that need to allow him to be employed in the United States," Samson said. "MLB has given the right to negotiate."

Cespedes could reach agreement with a team, but the signing couldn't be official until he is legally cleared.

Samson added that there is nothing new on the status of reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, formerly Leo Nunez. Oviedo avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $6 million contract. But he remains on MLB's restricted list.

"He's in the Dominican," Samson said. "I hope things get cleared up. We'd love to have him in camp and getting ready for the season."

Oviedo returned to the Dominican Republic last September to deal with legal issues stemming from his identity. His visa is still pending. Chances are Oviedo won't be eligible to play on the Opening Day roster, although he could join the team sometime in Spring Training.

Once Oviedo is cleared legally to return, he will likely face disciplinary action from Major League Baseball. It could be in the form of a fine or suspension or both.

"That's up to Major League Baseball," Samson said. "There was an acknowledged violation of the law. To the extent that would result in disciplinary action by MLB, that would certainly make sense to me."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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