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Tigers play the waiting game on Yoenis Cespedes, left field market

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Detroit has been quiet while the left field market remains stagnant. Will they make a move?

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With the Roman pizza king's propensity for big free agent splashes, this pre-Christmas tweet by Bob Nightengale should not come as a surprise to anyone:

"The #Tigers appear to be sitting back waiting for Yoenis Cespedes, whose price may be dropping."

Yet it caused quite a stir. This was, after all, the first mention of the Tigers being back in on Cespedes since GM Al Avila's declaration that the team was out. Also everyone is desperate for any baseball related news (see: me resorting to exploiting JD's lack of sleeves for clicks.)

Anyway, that tweet should simply be read as commonsense speculation. It would be foolish to think Avila and owner Mike Ilitch weren't monitoring the Cespedes saga (it's basically a saga at this point) as well as the price tags of fellow free agents Justin Upton and Alex Gordon.

The Tigers have been lying in wait for quite some time now (Mike Aviles signings don't count). And I don't see it as Cespedes or bust as much as spend or don't spend.

Walkoff Woodward with a fair point:

When speculating whether the Tigers will make the leap for another big ticket free agent, most are using past signings as their guide. But if you take the Tigers' moves since the Jordan Zimmermann signing in a vacuum, it would indicate that they are positioning themselves to stay just below the Luxury Tax.

After the initial Nightengale tweet, the Cespedes market seems to be taking some form. The Orioles and White Sox appear to lead, while the Angels, Giants, and Rangers also remain in the mix. There has been little mention of the Tigers other than the usual "they may come out of nowhere with thousands of pizzas."

I don't think the Tigers end up making a move on Cespedes. While he is a plus defender and lit the world on fire last year, he is also 30 and a six-year deal would be another lagging production contract. At this point, it seems unlikely that the Tigers will make any additional moves. But for those on #TeamSpend, the best-case scenario is for the Cespedes figure to come in lower than expected. This could depress the earnings of Gordon and Upton enough to entice Ilitch to move. That said, its tough to underestimate an owner's desire to win.

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