Athletics To Sign Yoenis Cespedes

The Athletics continued their offseason stockpiling of young talent with the ultimate free agent addition, signing 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36MM contract that allows him to reach free agency at its conclusion.  Yahoo's Tim Brown first reported the agreement, while Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle added financial details and the yearly breakdown.  Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group represents Cespedes.

The A's have been aggressive on international talent in past years, though CBS Sports' Danny Knobler suggests they were a late entrant on Cespedes.  The A's made a big bid for lefty Aroldis Chapman two years ago, and have now topped Chapman's record contract for a Cuban player.  More significantly, the A's gave Cespedes $36MM over four years, as opposed to the six-year term preferred by the Marlins and other suitors.  He'll reach the open market once again as a 30-year-old.  Cespedes may benefit from some minor league seasoning, but ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that he'll get a shot right away to become Oakland's everyday right fielder.    

Given his age, perhaps Cespedes should not be compared to top MLB prospects.  Still, Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein would rank him 20th in baseball and Baseball America's Jim Callis would put him in the 7-15 range.  Cespedes is a premium athlete with huge raw power, plenty of speed, and a strong arm.  His hit tool and defensive value are more of a question. 

The A's added top prospects such as Jarrod Parker, A.J. Cole, Derek Norris, and Brad Peacock this winter by trading Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, while Andrew Bailey brought the A's Josh Reddick and others.  With his entire outfield up for free agency, A's GM Billy Beane allowed David DeJesus and Josh Willingham to leave, re-signed Coco Crisp, signed Cespedes and Jonny Gomes, and acquired Reddick, Collin Cowgill, and Seth Smith.  Despite his lack of MLB and minor league experience, Cespedes is Oakland's highest-paid player, topping Crisp in 2012 by $500K.  The window to add premium young international talent by spending eight digits on a player is closing quickly, as the new collective bargaining agreement calls for a $2.9MM per team cap beginning with the July 2012 signing period.

Though MLB executives have been following Cespedes' play for the Cuban national team for years, the general public was introduced to him with a Star Wars-like scroll and the Christopher Cross light rock tune "Sailing," which appear within the first three minutes of this ridiculous promotional video.  Cespedes defected from the Cuban team in July of last year, establishing residency in the Dominican Republic and then becoming an MLB free agent.  He was recently unblocked by The Office of Foreign Asset Control according to Brown (on Twitter).  Goldstein tweets Cespedes is expected to arrive in Phoenix for a physical in one to two weeks, and he's already cleared his age and identity investigation and has been drug tested.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.


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308 Comments on "Athletics To Sign Yoenis Cespedes"


3 years 6 months ago

This came out of nowhere. I thought I saw they were in on him, but I didn’t think they would get him.

Robert Slye Jr.
3 years 6 months ago

Um. Wow. Did NOT see that coming…

Snoochies8
3 years 6 months ago

i didn’t either!!! i fell asleep late and woke up late! woohoo!

fxx3605
3 years 6 months ago

this will fail if over 35 mill

TheWoodyD
3 years 6 months ago

36 mil… Only a little fail?

fxx3605
3 years 6 months ago

 still 9 mill for an unoroven 26 year old

3 years 6 months ago

Most of the $36 million contracts given out to “proven” players are to mediocrities. Might as well aim for a star if your scouts believe he is one.

fxx3605
3 years 6 months ago

 personally i would have waited for soler even with 2 years in minors he would only be 21 or so

3 years 6 months ago

Are you a scout? Have you scouted them? Otherwise, I assume you’re just randomly assuming the guy who’s younger and has an easier to spell name is better.

PWNdroia
3 years 6 months ago

 You must also look at the fact that he’s coming to Oakland, a bad place for hitters.  If he isn’t what’s expected, this deal could be far worse.

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

So by this logic, Yu Darvish was a waste too.

rsanchez1
3 years 6 months ago

He was probably there complaining when the Mariners signed Ichiro too.

GlassJawn
3 years 6 months ago

Unoroven?  Is that a word from Billy Beane’s baseball dictionary?  

rsanchez1
3 years 6 months ago

It’s one of those sabermetric terms measuring how good a guy looks on TV.

Kayrall
3 years 6 months ago

Not Miami or Chicago. Interesting…

Ethan
3 years 6 months ago

I agree

Ohhhplease
3 years 6 months ago

I think both of those teams actually had scouts at his workouts, where Billy and crew just watched the YouTube video.

3 years 6 months ago

That Billy Beane Frontin about Manny Ramirez.
Now he goes and signs Cespedes!
Throwing out more Fog than a “Fog Machine” and steal Cespedes from everyone!
Good for Him!

$3513744
3 years 6 months ago

I guess winning wasn’t a priority.

3 years 6 months ago

he saw Moneyball and thought it could be possible I guess

Colin Christopher
3 years 6 months ago

It doesn’t need to be. He’s already 27, so the length of his MLB career is going to be limited. The fact that this is a 4-year contract (instead of a 6-year contract, which was the rumored length of his Miami offer) gives him a chance for another big payday in the not too distant future, when he won’t be over the hill quite yet. This was the best way for him to maximize his long-term financial security, and for a guy who came from nothing, that’s more important than winning.

pastlives
3 years 6 months ago

well no…i mean he will make more money than if it was a 6 year contract obviously, but he’s not a FA after those 4 years, he’ll still have 2 years of arb. eligibility left, if not 3 (if he plays in the minors for a month or so)

jwsox
3 years 6 months ago

It’s reported as he will be a free agent after the contract.

3 years 6 months ago

 That’s interesting, and good to know.

-C

JacobyWanKenobi
3 years 6 months ago

 Does service time not matter for international players?

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

it does, but the team can essentially agree not to tender him a contract after this one – making him a free agent

JacobyWanKenobi
3 years 6 months ago

 Ah, cheers. Learn new things erryday here. 😀

Tesseract
3 years 6 months ago

 for a guy that came from nothing I’m assuming he’s already made way more money than you will in your entire life.

pirateswillwinin2013
3 years 6 months ago

wow

3 years 6 months ago

Every time a mystery team actually signs a major free agent, Scott Boras opens a bottle of champagne.

indybucfan
3 years 6 months ago

That’s good!!

ericc123
3 years 6 months ago

So true….so true.

JacobyWanKenobi
3 years 6 months ago

They just added a new team to the mix, the Ninja team.

inleylandwetrust
3 years 6 months ago

Wasn’t expecting that!

Joey Doughnuts
3 years 6 months ago

Look at Billy Beane, taking a risk!

3 years 6 months ago

Like he’s never done that before. Remember Ynoa?

Tesseract
3 years 6 months ago

 You mean the guy that signed for $4 MM and threw 9 innings before blowing his arm out?

3 years 6 months ago

I didn’t say it worked out well. I was disputing the idea that Billy Beane taking a risk is some new thing we haven’t seen before.

Tesseract
3 years 6 months ago

 Hopefully Cespedes will be a good risk!

Joey Doughnuts
3 years 6 months ago

No, no I don’t.

Snoochies8
3 years 6 months ago

ynoa who? never heard of him…beane never wasted 4 million on a guy like that……

but really, most of us a’s fans would rather put that out of our minds haha

3 years 6 months ago

wow. thought for sure this guy wouldn’t go anywhere but the marlins to be close to home and family.

sourbob
3 years 6 months ago

Word had leaked out that he wasn’t interested in Miami weeks ago. He was just letting them drive up his price. I understand the inclination to figure a Cuban guy will go to the Cuban-heavy city and certainly it was a possibility to the end. But it strikes me as odd how many people continued to insist that Cespedes to Miami was a foregone conclusion even after he’d let it become known he didn’t want to go.

3 years 6 months ago

Huh?!?

3 years 6 months ago

That’s why  they gave Beane that extension through 2019

3 years 6 months ago

What the Arod as a minotaur?!

___ _____
3 years 6 months ago

Ouch. All the know-it-all’s in Miami from a thread I was reading yesterday just got burned.

Mike Mark Sopp
3 years 6 months ago

They must be counting on moving to San Jose.  

TheWoodyD
3 years 6 months ago

This contract will be up way before they move into any new stadium. Hopefully Cespedes pans out and either the A’s try to resign him before they move into a new stadium, or they flip him for the best possible prospects in 3 years.

$3513744
3 years 6 months ago

Re-sign him?  you mean they will flip him if he has any value whatsoever

3 years 6 months ago

The real question is..can he get on base??

tigers22
3 years 6 months ago

Billy Beane strikes

3 years 6 months ago

Good signing…Brad Pitt..