Holy Crap: Oakland A’s Sign Yoenis Cespedes (UPDATE)

I’m relatively flabbergasted right now, and there will be more to say on this later, but …

According to multiple reports, the Oakland A’s have signed Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal.

Not the Marlins.

Not the Cubs.

Not even the Tigers or White Sox.

The Oakland A’s.

We didn’t even know until this moment that Cespedes had received his work visa, allowing him to sign with a Major League team. Talk about under the radar.

We did know that a number of teams were involved with Cespedes, who came to the States last week, ostensibly to meet with the Marlins – and only the Marlins.

UPDATE: It sounds like a big part of the reason the A’s were able to get Cespedes is because they, unlike other teams, were willing to give him a four-year deal with a grant of free agency at the end of those four years (typically, teams get six years of control, regardless of the initial contract (in other words, you typically have to achieve six years of service time to be granted free agency)). I wanted Cespedes, but on a four-year, $36 million deal with only those four years of control? No thanks. That’s too much risk with too little upside.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

125 responses to “Holy Crap: Oakland A’s Sign Yoenis Cespedes (UPDATE)”

  1. deej
  2. otiscleetus

    what…

  3. Carl

    April Fools?

  4. LWeb23

    So much for the Cubs backing out because the Marlins had something we can’t offer. haha. THE OAKLAND FREAKING ATHLETICS?????

  5. Caleb Duncan

    Lol. To quote Jim Carey from Dumb and Dumber “We were way off!!!”

    1. JulioZuleta

      I knew it started with an “S” though.

      1. hansman1982

        Every time I think you couldn’t possible do anything stupider, you go and completely redeem yourself.

      2. Steve

        Slimmie, slippy, slappy, swan….Swanson!!!

  6. CubFan Paul

    well damn.

  7. Chris

    Uhhh, wow. Top 2 or 3 biggest shocks of this off-season?

  8. JulioZuleta

    I don’t like it. I think this could put the Marlins squarely into the mix for Soler.

    1. LWeb23

      Well hopefully they are not on their toes and don’t recover quickly. We need to bring in the closer on this potential Soler deal. Hopefully Theo can be a better closer than Marmol was last year

    2. Noah

      I doubt it effects the Marlins on Soler a lot. The Marlins were willing to spend a lot on Cespedes because he would help be a draw among the Cuban community in Florida in the very near future, by 2013 at the VERY latest. That’s not the case with Soler. Soler probably won’t be ready for the Majors until around 2015 or so, which won’t help the Marlins get butts in the seats of their shiny new stadium.

    3. Noah

      And actually it doesn’t look like the Marlins were that deep in on Cespedes. They only offered him 6 years/$36 million. Which isn’t peanuts, but a lot of people thought he’d get $9-$10 million a year for 5 or 6 years.

  9. cls

    That just goes to show you, it always seems to be the unheard of team that ends up with the signing. That’s why I’m not crazy about all these Cubs rumors that we are making a “big play” for Soler and even tossing around dollar amounts. The more we are linked in the media, the more I’m expecting some random, previously unmentioned, team to get the deal.

    1. hansman1982

      That has been the name of the game this offseason, look away from the smoke.

  10. Devin

    If there was one team that could make that kind of move. Its billy beane’s team

  11. Brian

    Unbelievable. Can’t remember the last time I had to double take my phone when I got the text. Really out of left field.

  12. cls

    So perhaps the Marlins were exaggerating on their actual interest in Cespedes, and have been targeting Soler all along. Cubs are going to have some serious competition for that kid. Marlins might be stealing that one from us.

    1. DocWimsey

      I doubt that the two are related, given how big a difference in contracts Soler and Cespedes were/are going to command.

  13. Brian

    I am ready for a book by Theo, to truly find out if the Cubs were ever even interested in all of these big name players and if so, just how did they all sign else where!
    I would love to see a picture of the FO’s faces when this news broke, if they really thought they were in on him.

  14. Andy

    After hearing Ozzie Guillen on Waddle & Silvy last Friday, its obvious there is a belief that Cespedes is not worth $9 mil per year. Rather it be he is still at least a year from the Majors or just not quite as good as anticipated, I have trust in Theo and Co. that they made the right decision.

    FWIW Ozzie had chances to praise Cespedes, but the best he came up with is that hes a good player, but not quite as good as Raul Mondesi. That does not sound like a ringing endorsement to me.

    1. Deez

      I’m w/ you on this Andy. I don’t think he was worth the money at all + plus he’s supposedly one year away & would have taken a boatload of money & a roster spot for all his potential.
      Cespedes was too much money for “potential.”

  15. DannyBallgame

    Holy Crap is right. Has he even been to Oakland? it’s no Miami, and its definitely no Chicago. Good luck on the left coast

  16. cubmig

    WOW!!!!!! So much for all my esoteric “cultural ambiance” balderdash!!!!! LOL!!!! So much for all the speculation too!!! “It just shows to go-ya” We were all duped…….will we ever be able to trust what we read anymore????

  17. ferrets_bueller

    holycrapholycrapholycrap

    That pic…perfect.

    Holy crap.

  18. Bren

    Are they A’s even close to contending? this is an odd move

  19. Brian

    My guess is, the A’s were the only team to promise playing time in the bigs right away!

    1. Joe

      Hm, good idea. Maybe not guaranteed time, but he probably saw less competition in the outfield there…

  20. ferrets_bueller

    I bet Theo is pissed that he didn’t sign with the Marlins, and instead went to a team that doesn’t effect the Cubs. All that work driving up the price… All this time I was hoping they’d throw away a ton of money, and he signs with the freaking A’s instead of Miami.

  21. rocky8263

    While in Miami Cespedes was seen eating Ropa Vieja with an odd looking bearded man who while old looking walked liked a much younger man. That sneak Billy Beane!

  22. Joe

    How is everybody taking that price? Since we were ready to hear the Cubs landing him at 6 for $60, four for $36 sounds dandy…

    EDIT: Oh, I see Brett added a note wherein the years of control is an issue. I suppose so…

    1. cls

      Per a tweet from Brett, Cespedes’s agent was asking for either a 10 year deal, or a 4 year deal with Free Agency at the end of it. Most teams (Cubs included I assume) didn’t offer a 10, rather wanted 5/6 year deals. Seems like Oakland went with the 4 year/FA option. Not sure I’d be a fan of that arrangement if he signed here.

      1. Joe

        10 or 4? Yeah, okay, don’t want any of that 10, for sure…

    2. North Side Irish

      That price would’ve a touch high for my liking, but I could’ve lived with it. The spot on the major league roster would have been hard to defend, though he had a good chance of being called up later this season anyway.

      But no way you pay that much and then let him hit free agency after 4 years. If he busts, you can choose not to keep him, but you HAVE to let the team have the option of keeping him on a $36M deal.

  23. Noah

    Cespedes and Darvish are the only guys I heard the Cubs make a serious run on of the big names, though. From what I’ve heard, the Cubs never did anything more than exploratory phone calls on Pujols and Fielder. But the bidding system for the Japanese players is a completely blind system, and I’m curious if a part of the Cespedes deal with the A’s is that he will become a free agent after his four year deal is up (actually now seen news that he WILL be a free agent after deal is up). That would allow Cespedes to become a free agent at age 30, and if he pans out the possibility of a 9 figure deal would be there for him.

  24. Elwood

    I am less upset that the Cubs didn’t get him now that he is in the AL. I am so happy the Marlins didn’t. Can’t stand the freakin’ Marlins.

    Hey Cespedes, enjoy playing for 12,000 fans in a horrible ballpark, and the East Coast road trips.

    1. North Side Irish

      But at least he doesn’t have to wear that Marlins uniform…

      1. Elwood

        True, but I would rank the A’s a close second in the “terrible uniforms”category…

  25. rbreeze

    So money with free agency after 4 years wins out.  Are teams learning how to play with the media in terms of throwing them and us off the track?  Who saw Pujols going to the Angels?  Now the A’s get Cespedes?  The rumor mill ain’t what it used to be.

  26. TWC

    See?  Everyone loves Northern California.

    But, yeah, I’m wondering if he or his agent are all that familiar with Oakland.

    1. hardtop

      …. and lets not forget the rich traditions of oakland… like criminal mortocycle gangs… that’s appealing

  27. Cheryl

    Billy Beane probably figured the price was worth taking a chance on him. It will put more fans in the seats in Oakland. How hard the cubs go after Soler is a puzzlement. Soler’s demands may have just gotten higher too.

  28. Kyle

    Just goes to show you that these rumor mills are basically worthless. I don’t doubt that sources really do leak the info, but there’s so much incentive to leak false info for all sides that there’s no way to tell what’s real and what’s not.

    1. DocWimsey

      I don’t think that it is even false leaks: I’ll bet that all of the rumored teams were either made an offer or seriously considered doing so. Instead, it is that we hear (say) one third of what actually is discussed behind closed doors. So, there is always a good chance of the “winning” discussion to come out of those that we did not know existed.

  29. DocWimsey

    This is no different that what happened with Fielder, Pujols, CLee, etc.: we read about only a fraction of the discussions in baseball. The media focuses on a couple of obvious ones. The fans focus on a handful: usually the Yankees, Sox and *their* team, although in this case the Marlins and *their* team. (In the D.C. area, many people were convinced that he was going to either the Marlins, Nats or O’s; yes, the Cubs were mentioned, but “everybody knows” that the Cubs are too cheap, right?)

  30. CF

    This is laughable. 4 years for $36 mill? And he’s probably not ready for the show, so it’s really more like 3 or 3.5 years (or ~ $10-12M per year). That puts him on par with the top 50 or so highest paid players in the game, and the guy has never taken a swing above an A-ball equivalent. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

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