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: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:59 pm

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

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

One of the worst PR comments a person can ever say to represent their organization.  Speaking this sentence publicly is, alone, grounds for termination.   

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:19 pm

Surprising Money

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know much about Cespedes, although I read whatever I could just to try to get an idea why a team would throw $36 million over 4 years at a guy that's never swung a bat at Major League pitching.  His numbers do not seem to be too bad, and in fact, are exceptional - in a League where Brian Bannister currently pitches.  I have always been of the opinion, and that opinion may vary and be at odds with a lot of others, that anyone who has not been in the Majors is still a prospect.  A rookie, if you will.  Granted, he may be a 5 tool guy and explode on the scene in Oakland... but I doubt it.  MLB pitching is the best in the world and it brings a lot of foreign prospects back down to earth because they end up shocked at how much better it is than where they played.  What I really don't understand is why so much money.  Maybe I'm naive but if someone could explain that to me, I would appreciate it.

Since: Mar 31, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:17 pm

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

If Alphonso Soriano is 36 that makes this guy much closer to 30 then we probably know. Also why would you risk a fifth of your payroll on a guy who is unproven in the bigs. If he turns out to be a bust Oakland is in for a long 4 years. I think he will turn out to be a great player but to me its too much to risk for a small market team. This sure as hell isnt moneyball Billy.

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:53 pm

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

I agree with you XBombersX about the Yankees NOT trying to spend away the future anymore.  The Soriano signing happened against Cashman's wishes.  He was right on that one too. 

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:45 pm

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

I can't believe my eyes.

First :

Congrats to the A's to get the bargain. I thought Mariners could be the mystery team as they were rumored to run at Fielder, thus money were in Seattle, and the need to get some offense as well.

Second and most important : 

Why is nobody here even remotely admits there is a chance this guy is real good, exceptional talent, and will be superstar at MLB level ? You've seen so many "established" MLB players to hit a wall to prove the fact that you had some history at MLB means absolutely nothing, unless you talk about exceptional talent, such as Pujols or Cabrera. And if you talk about exceptional talent, you perhaps noticed, that Cespedes is just that : exceptional talent. Is he a guaranted thing ? No way. Is there a pretty good chance he will be top performer, or at least above average to justify 9mils per year ? I would say there is pretty good chance for this.

Third :

Amazing to see how many idiots commenters are mentioning his .143 winter league affair. Have you ever heard the term "SMALL SAMPLE SIZE" ? Does that mean anything to you ?

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:22 pm

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

Clearly, brains arent his smart suit...signing with the A's???

Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:32 pm

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

Let me put all this in perspective, if he starts out with a couple of good seasons, the Athletics will trade him without hesitation. That's Billy Beane M.O...........

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:31 pm

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

Let's face it, most of us have no idea how good this guy will be, but as an A's fan I'm happy to see them actually spend some $$$ to try and improve the team and make them more exciting. Maybe it won't be such a bad year after all? Yeah, they traded away some good players, but they also got some good young talent in return also.

Since: Nov 7, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:20 pm

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

Idiotic move by the A's.  They trade away talent and pass on major free agents and then throw 9 mil per at a guy who couldn't hit winter ball pitching?  Either they got the next great slugger or they just mortgaged their very small farm on the next Alphonso Soriano.  And I am not talking about the younger version.  

There are a couple of fan bases that are estatic that the A's jumped in and grabbed Cespedes before their GM's could waste the money on him.   

Since: Jan 18, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:43 pm

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

XBombersX  I will grant you there is some talent in the minors but none in AA or AAA as far as position players

Betances stock continues to fall each year and now many  are no longer projecting him as a number 2 starter.  In fact most are looking at him as a reliever.

The only proven guy out of the three is the best player in the AL and that is Robinson Cano.  The others all have question marks. 

I need to see our first baseman rebound, My favorite Yankee Jeter show that last year was not a last hurrah.  I believe that Alex will fade very quickly and leave the Yanks 30 million dollars a year to pay him.

Maybe not the 60's Yankees but we are in for a long rebuilding program.

I would have liked to see these three Free Agents with our team.  then we would not have had to trade Montero.    &nb
sp;     &n

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