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"


Guest
3 years 4 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.

Member
Robert Slye Jr.
3 years 4 months ago

Um. Wow. Did NOT see that coming…

Member
Snoochies8
3 years 4 months ago

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

Member
fxx3605
3 years 4 months ago

this will fail if over 35 mill

Member
TheWoodyD
3 years 4 months ago

36 mil… Only a little fail?

Member
fxx3605
3 years 4 months ago

 still 9 mill for an unoroven 26 year old

Guest
3 years 4 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.

Member
fxx3605
3 years 4 months ago

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

Guest
3 years 4 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.

Member
PWNdroia
3 years 4 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.

Member
MB923
3 years 4 months ago

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

Member
rsanchez1
3 years 4 months ago

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

Member
GlassJawn
3 years 4 months ago

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

Member
rsanchez1
3 years 4 months ago

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

Member
Kayrall
3 years 4 months ago

Not Miami or Chicago. Interesting…

Member
Ethan
3 years 4 months ago

I agree

Member
Ohhhplease
3 years 4 months ago

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

Guest
3 years 4 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!