Yoenis Cespedes Signs With A's For Record Deal

The A's dropped a bombshell on the free agent landscape today by signing Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year deal reportedly worth $36 million.  The $36 million would be a record for a Cuban defector, besting the six-year, $30 million dollar covenant reached by the Reds and lefty flamethrower, Aroldis Chapman.  I've seen as much Yoenis Cespedes as you have... that means, I watched his somewhat bizarre 20 minute YouTube promo as well as a few other clips.  So, to be fair, I'm not a professional scout and I haven't seen him play which means, like most, I'm totally unqualified to form an opinion on his talent.  But... from what I've seen, the kid appears to have a nice swing (he has decent power, he likes going opposite field and doesn't appear to have any hitches), he moves pretty well (he's a little heavy up top which makes him look a little stiff at times but he appears to have enough speed to play the corner outfield positions) and as far as prospects go, he looks refined.  I did notice that he seems to lunge a little bit or maybe it just looks that way because his upper body is so big.  He kind of reminds me of Sammy Sosa with less bat speed.  He hit 33 HR in a short Cuban season (90 games), so he definitely has raw power but he also was consistently atop the leader boards in doubles and runs scored, which tells me he is a well above average multi-faceted offensive player.  That's my unprofessional and unqualified opinion, for what it's worth.

What I do know is that acclimating to life in Oakland as a major league baseball player is going to present monumental challenges for the young Cuban star.  Besides the baseball adjustment (talent level in the big leagues is slightly better than what he encountered playing in the Cuban leagues for his native Granma club), he's going to be faced with the difficult task of figuring out what life outside of Communist Cuba is supposed to look like.  The temptations of wealth and freedom have been known to wreak havoc on the lives of American born young men, who have had the privilege of firsthand examples of wealth generated problems - in Cespedes' case, he has to adjust to life in a free country, by himself, on the West Coast with more money in his bank account than he likely knows what to do with and plenty of new 'friends' that will want to show him how to spend it.  Further, Oakland's O.co Coliseum has been known to eat the children of mortal home run hitters so Cespedes' plate discipline will certainly be tested.

I think that this move is a strong indication that Oakland is in the stages of an exciting rebuilding period; the fact that the A's were able to land Cespedes for four years is curious (when the Marlins and others were throwing out six-year offers).  Billy Beane seemingly always has something up his sleeves and right now, he seems to be attempting to exploit some expiring rules (under the new CBA, it's going to be harder for teams to overbid for international talent) and solidify his team of the future by buying low on Cespedes.  At $9 million per season, Cespedes is the most expensive person on the A's payroll but down the road, that $9 million could end up being a very nice bargaining tool, especially considering the bid were supposed to be north of $60 million but a lackluster performance in the Dominican Winter Leagues brought the bidding down and opened the door for Billy Beane.  Yoenis is too old to be considered a prospect; at 27, he's going to have the opportunity to be an immediate impact player.  Make no mistake, if Yoenis is able to show a glimpse of what made him so highly coveted, he's going to be a tremendous trade chip for Billy Beane and the A's.  If he is able to step right in and mash the way he did in Cuba, the A's could find themselves winning some ballgames but, in my opinion, this move is not about Cespedes in Oakland for the long haul.  In this offseason, Beane has already traded away Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson for prospects and he let Josh Willingham leave for free agency.  Given where the A's ended up last year, Beane felt that he needed to do some re-tooling, so the window of opportunity is still likely a few years away.  With Cespedes, the A's have a guy that could end up being worth a king's ransom, in terms of prospects.  And if he doesn't pan out, the A's are on the hook for $9 million over the next four years- about the same amount that the A's would have owed to Gio Gonzalez.  Low risk, high reward.  Typical money ball.


  1. Is there ever going to be an end to the rebuilding in Oakland? Is anyone ever going to see the payoff of "Moneyball". You are right that this is a move to flip him in the future, and it says something about their financial situation that they are willing to gamble that $ on a very risky prospect. The only team to have consistent success flipping players have been the Marlins, so i am still trying to figure out what the genius of Beane is other than self promotion.

  2. There is no genius there. LOL, he is the most overrated G.M. in baseball.

    Try recalling his massive mistakes with Car-Go and Either.

    They bought the team cheap, with the condition that they are not moved (presumably outside the Bay Area).

    They faked competitiveness, with the ultimate goal of moving to San Jose (where Wolfe owns the soccer team.

    Wolfe is an old college chum of Selig. 2+2


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