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Yoenis Cespedes signs with the Oakland Athletics

Feb 13, 2012, 12:22 PM EST

cespedes Reuters

We weren’t expecting this:  Tim Brown of Yahoo! reports that Yoenis Cespedes is on the verge of signing with the Oakland Athletics.  Susan Slusser added that the deal will be for four years, $36 million.

That’s a bit lower than anyone thought he’d get.  Is it possible that his short, lackluster stint in winter ball hurt him? Maybe it’s more possible that everyone calmed down a bit and realized that a 26 year-old — hopefully — Cuban player is not necessarily a sure thing no matter how flashy his workout videos and short-season statistics were. Especially if he’s a corner outfielder long-term and not a center fielder. Which looks very likely to be the case.

Still, it’s not like $36 million is cheap for the A’s, who have traded just about everyone who makes more money than Peter Brand.  But when you have no stud hitters in your system and no ability to sign one on the free agent market, you have to take a chance like this.  Because while he’s no sure thing, if Cespedes performs at the top end of his expectations, he will be a bargain.

In other news: how freaking interesting has the winter been for the AL West?

UPDATE:  Turns out that Cespedes will be eligible for free agency after the four year deal.  My initial impression was that the contract would run for four years and then he’d still be under team control and subject to arbitration for two additional years.  With that not being the case, this is a way better deal for Cespedes than I first assumed.

It also may explain why he went to the A’s and not some more of the usual suspects.  Rosenthal reports that Cespedes’ agent was trying to get either a ten-year deal out of teams — which no one was willing to do — or to get a four-year deal with free agency at the end.  Other teams, such as the Marlins, wanted him under control for five or six years.  The A’s, in short, were willing to do what no one else would.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    So is Coco a corner guy now? Still a good ninja move for Beane

  2. lardin - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Beane, is hoping for a solid 3 months followed by a trade to an unsuspecting team at the deadline for the teams three best prospects

    • crisisjunky - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      all teams suspect, promise.

      • lardin - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        fair enough, but he will still try. There are some dumb GM’s

  3. nagrommit - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    This is just for the Oscar buzz?

  4. APBA Guy - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Amazing, though I heard 6 for $ 36M. I’m sure details will be clearer shortly. Whatever though, I hope the guy can actually hit. If not, the Raiders can always use a running back. He’s great on those workout video’s, but his swing seems awfully long. Why do I see Cespedes and think Pedro Cerrano?

    • istillbelieveinblue - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

      Because you’ve been watching too many All-State commercials?

      • jimbo1949 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM

        He’s Mayhem?

      • APBA Guy - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

        That must be it. I notice them more because Haysbert is from San Mateo.

  5. yankeesgameday - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Oakland seems like such an illogical fit for him if Miami made an offer. What happened with the Marlins?

  6. Old Gator - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    This is one relieved Feesh fan here. Now can we please go out and get us a real third baseman?

    • crisisjunky - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      Another ‘Well played Mauer’ for Loria with his almost, not quite in the ballpark, just to the threshold of insanity but not, the cusp of the winning bid.
      Jeff Loria and Pete Angelos are the Hal Chase and Chick Gandil of Front Office Mgmnt.

  7. paperlions - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    This is just strange….didn’t they just trade away their recently established players for even younger ones? They have no chance of competing right now, they have no fan base (that happens when you spend years trying to move but don’t)….just….weird.

    There are probably zero fans excited about this….are former A’s fans excited to watch him play there for a year (if he isn’t in the minors) before the team moves to San Jose? Maybe future fans in San Jose are interested in the potential to be excited about this signing.

  8. stevesper88 - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Oh, ok Billy Beane. Trade away top of the rotation pitching such as Gio and Cahill and proven closer Bailey because you have no money to extend them. THEN you sign a MEDIOCRE at best Coco Crisp with his neck piercing and league average skills for 14 mil. Now you sign an unproven Cuban castaway that Fidel didn’t even lift a finger for. I know this team is struggling offensively but this is not going to help. I feel bad for Oakland Fans…GM is a moron. Lookm at the bright side..at this sluggish mediocre pace the team may not move to San Jose!!!

    • jrd8523 - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:19 PM

      What happens when Fidel lifts a finger?

  9. randygnyc - Feb 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I guess the reports were true that Cespedes really didn’t want to play for the marlins. Apparently, he left money on the table.

    • crisisjunky - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      money, and the riotous jersey, apparently opting for the A’s more subdued theme. l

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Maybe Alexei Ramirez talked to him about the joy of playing under Ozzie.

      If the value of Coco crisp is $14MM (which is debatable, but not unreasonable) Cespedes could be a steal. I don’t know the San Jose demographics, but perhaps Beane is trying to appeal to the Latino/Cuban fan base? That was the Marlins stated reasoning for pursuing him so aggressively.

      • crisisjunky - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        with a new 7 year contract under Beane’s arm, methinks something is definitely afoot……

        perhaps after watching the youtube video, he saw Yoennis as a moonlighting candidate
        when construction crews are being chosen for a new San Jose ballpark… Marlins sort of missed the window on that one, though in Miami there was probably plenty of pork to pay him for a “no-show” job that would otherwise have gone to Tony Soprano’s crew.
        (SoFla locals feel free to insert name of Miami area wiseguy. Sorry, I’m not familiar with current iterations.)

  10. uyf1950 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Really surprised he didn’t go to the Marlins. I would have thought the extremely large Cuban community would have been very appealing to him. The A’s are a huge surprise here.

    • Old Gator - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      That “huge Cuban population” in Macondo is always on everyone’s mind when it comes to baseball here in this little tropical dystopia of ours. Fact is, though, it hasn’t been worth doodly squat to the Feesh for the 19 years they’ve been in existence. Whatever you’ve read, getting to Joeprodolsharklife Stadium was never that big a hassle, the seats were cheap or at least reasonable, and the food was passable at worst. The games were mostly evening games and the heat wasn’t that big a deal for those of us who live here and are acclimatized. The rain thing was seriously exaggerated, too – Macondoans and those who live just over the border from the stadium in the US were used to our daily summer afternoon and early evening storms anyway. In other words, nothing about “being Cuban” translated into any sort of an attendance bump-up.

      Another point: Latin American communities, substantial ones, can be found in any major American city now. A Cuban-American ballplayer isn’t going home to visit his relatives on the island in-season anyway, and many of them live here in the off-season when being “near Cuba” matters if it does at all. Cuban-born Americans may think about this stuff with more nostalgia or longing, and no doubt they will communicate their sense of pain and loss to their American-born children. But first-generation and subsequent Cuban-Americans will relate to Macondo, Los Angeles, New York or wherever else in the USA they were born and grew up as “home” anyway. Cuba itself would seem only slightly less foreign than any other country to them after an American upbringing, even one in Little Havana. There are a load of myths about Cuban-Americans that don’t wash anymore, if they ever did.

  11. psuravens19 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    This just goes to show that the analyst’s have no clue what they are talking about… Read over the weekend the O’s were the darkhorse on this guy.

  12. dcfan4life - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Everyone insulting Billy Beane is dumb. The man traded away players who may have reached there potential and would have cost way to much to extend. In this signing he is getting a player who by some accounts has Adrian Gonzalez like potential, and he gets him for 4 years and only $36 Million. That my friends if it pans out is a huge steal. Plus he can always trade him to the Yankees, Marlins, Tigers, Phillies, etc… for a lot back if he really plays well. And unlike huge contracts late in a career this guy is gonna try his butt off for them to get that big deal. I like this move. This is why Billy Beane can compete with no money. Moves like this. Clear up cap space and sign an undervalued potential superstar for dirt cheap who even if he doesnt meet expectations can always be traded. Great signing.

  13. crash1582 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    YC – A $1 for soda in the lockerroom, I never had to pay for a soda in cuba???

    Welcome to oakland…

  14. vicktator - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Doesn’t seem like an A’s style signing, good work Brad Pitt.

  15. angelmangual - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Michael Choice is a legitimate OF prospect but the next time Calciaterra does mininal research will be the first time.

    The A’s money situation is all based on the San Jose move. If they get approval, they’re in San Jose by 2015 and they will be able to afford some top of the line players. If they don’t get the approval, they can trade Cespedes down the road. Besides, the luxury tax teams are paying for Cespedes anyway.

  16. koreanfandeath - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    For 9 mil a year, he would have been the highest paid player on the A’s 2011 roster. It seems like they took too much risk. Maybe it’s just sour grapes bc the Tigers didn’t get him.

  17. sergio408 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I like this move from Beans Because its the only way we could have acquired such a big bat, but we should have Kept Gio Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, McCarthy, D. Braden, and B. Colon are big question marks in the Rotation!

  18. lostsok - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    The real question now: who plays Yoenis in Moneyball 2?

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