Blog Entry

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Posted on: February 13, 2012 1:34 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 4:54 pm
Yes, it's a shock.

"Oakland?" one baseball executive repeated to me after I told him the A's were the team signing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

Yes, Oakland.

Yes, it's a shock. But that doesn't necessarily make it a crazy idea for the A's, and here's why:

When Cespedes' agents approached the A's recently after finding a softer-than-expected market elsewhere, the A's saw opportunity. They know that signing Cespedes for $36 million over four years is a risk -- an expensive risk for a team that doesn't have any other player signed for more than $6 million this year.

But they also know that the upside is great. The scouts who like Cespedes compare his combination of power and speed to Bo Jackson.

You just don't find players like that. The A's don't find them, anyway, not in their price range.

The A's know they're not going to win this year, and probably not next year, either. That's why they spent this winter trading Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey for young prospects.

But the plan has been to build a team that can win in 2014-15. If the A's are right about Cespedes, that's when he will be emerging as a true star.

As one A's person said Monday, "We're not trying to finish in last place."

They're trying to build a team in a challenging environment, one that won't get much less challenging until a new stadium is on the way. For now, the A's are operating with a low budget, but also with a difficult image.

When they've tried to spend, they haven't been able to. A year ago, they tried to sign both Adrian Beltre and Lance Berkman. They chose the right players; the players didn't want to come.

They have to take chances, which is why they're one of the few teams willing to consider signing Manny Ramirez.

The A's were also one of the higher bidders on Aroldis Chapman, who until Monday held the record for most money given to a Cuban free agent.

"The problem is no one wants our money," the A's person said.

So when Cespedes' people approached them and said that the outfielder was interested in coming to the A's, the A's were willing to consider it. They were even willing to make a deal that will allow Cespedes to become a free agent again after four years (a condition that Cespedes demanded of every bidder, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit Free Press).

They weren't one of the many teams involved in the Cespedes bidding from the start, but the A's have liked the player since watching him several years back in the World Baseball Classic.

In the end, Cespedes got a better deal from the A's than the one the Marlins offered ($36 million over six years, according to sources). But Cespedes had also told officials from other teams that he preferred not to go to Miami, because of the potential circus playing in a city with a huge Cuban exile population.

That won't be an issue in Oakland, unless Cespedes turns into an instant star and leads the A's into contention this year.

Now that would really be a shock.

Category: MLB

Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:32 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Every year , the A's come out saying that they're playing for 3 or 4 years down the road .
Every year .

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: February 16, 2012 11:31 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

A's ball park is built for defense and pitching . This is just a awful move on top of trading all there pitching away !

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:10 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

To me I believe this is Billy Beane trying to prevent the A's from ending up on probation like what happened to the Marlins when the players union went after them for not spending money and dumping guys every 3-4 years when they hit their prime.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: February 14, 2012 11:03 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

It is a shock.

I can't imagine a Cuban player wanting to avoid the "circus" in Miami, where the community (and the team) would have welcomed him like family...for the prospect of playing in an empty stadium in chilly Oakland, where he walks in making more money than anyone else on the roster, without the benefit of knowing he can play MLB at a level that justifies his paycheck.

Bo Jackson ? Bo also knew a curveball, and the U.S. culture...and the English language...not sure Yoenis does.

Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:47 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Having said that, I believe that the real reason most teams stayed away from a long term deal with Cespedes is the question of his age.  Seriously doubt that this guy is 26 years age.  He is probably closer to 29 and It wouldn't surprise me at all if he was older.

Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:39 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

He may be a 5 tool player but so were a lot of platers coming up.  Colby Rasmus was just awesome for the Cards wasn't he?  They traded him and got some decent players from Toronto but not worthy of all-star caliber players.  And invest 36 mil in this guy when there's no guarantee?  Maybe Cespedes will turn out okay...and that's a BIG MAYBE.

Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:36 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Heck, the Yanks are paying Nick Swisher 10M per year and he's no where near a five tool player.  All he does is hit the occassional homerun and dissapear during the post season.

The Yanks would be better far better off with Cespedes in right field right now at 9m per year than with Swisher at 10M per year.  Far better off.  Trust me with Cespedes talent this is a no brainer.

Since: Apr 20, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:25 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

You are all very naive if you believe that Beane signed this player so that he can be the cornerstone of their team in 2014-2015, yet he would trade away quality and equally young pitchers like Gonzalez and Cahill?  Beane is no dummy.  He signed this player because he will be a great trading chip after next year.  Anybody who has seen Cespedes play can see that this five tool ball player will be worth "atleast" 9M per year after next year.  With few exceptions, if any, a so-so year of five tool talent numbers from a five tool player guarantees a a five tool player 9M per year.

This is a great no-lose signing for Billy Beane.  He will trade this player for legit prospects after next season.

You can take that to the bank.

Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: February 14, 2012 7:17 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

I won't pretend to know if Yoenis Cespedes will turn out to be a good player but I'm always pleasantly surprised when the A's sign a free agent.
9Iron- Agreed and it's a huge gamble.

Since: May 22, 2007
Posted on: February 14, 2012 6:42 am

A's shock us with not-so-crazy Cespedes signing

Well, Yoenis Cespedes is a reasonably young guy, at 26, so a four year deal isn't perfect for the Athletics, but right up their alley. I know it seems the A's dumped Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Baily, but if you get 10 good prospects for the trade, what's not to like. You have to remember the A's philosophy, build a young team, compete, and then rebuild. We'll see how long it takes them to compete before their next dismantling...from a financial perspective, that's really their only option.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or