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. Katie

    Wow! This was a surprise.

    As for him choosing Oakland… While it may not be Chicago or Miami, it’s not Cuba and he’s making a whole lot of money.

    1. die hard

      1 2011 Coliseum 1,476,791 18,232/gm 14th of 14 $66,536,500-payroll
      2 2010 Coliseum 1,418,391 17,511 13th of 14 $55,254,900
      3 2009 Coliseum 1,408,783 17,392 14th of 14 $61,910,000

      Heres why….avg under 1.5 mil attendance but payroll jumped… double down by adding payroll with hope that attendance jumps to at least 20K game…this may be BB’s last year which may explain gamble….but how can City sustain when occupy Oakland manifests poverty in area…attendance could go down to 15K a game or less

      1. Andrew

        Billy Beane just got extended til like 2019 or something ridiculous. they are also planning on moving to San Jose.

  2. ferrets_bueller

    I think living in Oakland might make him want to defect back to Cuba.

    1. SirCub

      Billy Beane had put together the perfect A’s team for 1998. The only thing he was missing was a good pitcher. He had scouted all the colleges, and even the high schools, and he couldn’t find a ringer pitcher that would ensure a World Series win.

      One night, watching CNN, he saw a war zone in Bosnia. In the background, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a young Bosnian soldier with a truly incredible arm. He threw a hand grenade straight into a 15th story window 200 yards away, ka-boom! He threw another hand grenade into a group of about 10 soldiers a good 110 yards away-ka-blooey! A car passes going 90 miles an hour-bulls-eye! Right into the barely open window. “I’ve got to get this guy,” Billy says to himself. “He has the perfect arm!” So he brings him to the states and teaches him the great game of baseball.

      Predictably, the young man breaks all the MLB records for strikeouts, and the A’s go on to win the World Series. The young Bosnian is lionized as the Great Hero of the World Series, and when Billy asks him what he wants, all the young man wants to do is to call his mother.

      “Mom,” the young man says into the receiver, “I just won the World Series.” “I don’t want to talk to you,” the old woman says. “You deserted us. You’re not my son.” “I don’t think you understand, mother” the young man pleads. “I just won the greatest sporting event in the world. I’m in the middle of thousands of adoring fans.” “No, let me tell you,” the mother implores. “At this very moment, there are gun shots all around us. The neighborhood is a pile of rubble. Your two brothers were beaten within an inch of their lifes last week, and this week your sister was raped in broad daylight….” I’ll never forgive you for making us move to Oakland”.

      1. ferrets_bueller


      2. Cheryl

        Well done!

        1. SirCub

          Should note that I copy and pasted that joke from some web site. But I did change it from a football joke with Al Davis, the Raiders, and the Super Bowl to a baseball joke with Billy Beane, the A’s, and the World Series.

  3. Andrew

    To me 4 years makes sense for Cespedes. He will be a free agent at 30 quite likely still in his prime so hell nab another big contract. At 6 years he is FA at 32 and possibly starting to decline and will probably just get 2-3 yr contract offers.

    Makes sense for the A’s. They possibly get some of his best years for only 36 million so they arent risking very much really and might show the MLB and Bud Selig that theyd be willing to spend big once in a better market like San Jose. I’ve always kinda liked the A’s for some reason so good for them.

    Also I just thought of this. Kosuke got 4 for 48 but i think people will agree that if we had him for 8-9 mill a year, itd be a worthwhile contract. I think betting that Cespedes will be better than Fukudome was is a pretty good gamble.

  4. Brian

    I was all pumped up again for good news, yet set for the bad, but this just makes me say oh well. Now I am ready for at least a little frosting on what has been a nice year with the front office additions, so lets get Soler and move on to next year.

  5. Doug

    Good. As I said the other day…Anyone but Miami!!

  6. Mike S

    Check out my quick video I made for the Cubs…


  7. Spencer

    At least he’s in the A.L. Whatever. Hope the Cubs sign Soler unless the Royals swoop in.

  8. Don

    I just hope this doesn’t hinder the Cubs from being able to sign Soler. With the Marlins missing out, I have a feeling they may push really hard to walk away with Soler.

  9. cccubfan

    That signing came out of left field….LOL….(pun intended)

    1. loyal100more

      the mystery team strikes again!!!

  10. jfish1219

    Isn’t Soler  19 that seems like a way better investment to me

  11. djriz

    But what about the real important stuff? We need a picture of a certain 1 year old girl with birthday cake all over her face.
    I missed yesterdays stuff so a belated awwwwwwwwwwwww!

    1. Cheryl


  12. Jeff

    I don’t even see the point of speculating where big name players are going to go when they are free agents at this point. The “so called”experts, the analysts, the bloggers, and the fans are usually never right. Let’s see… Albert to the Angels, nobody got that one right. Prince to the Tigers, nobody got that right. CJ Wilson, nobody got that right. Now Cespedes to the A’s, no one was close… Not only are these players going to teams that aren’t favorites, but going to teams that aren’t even in the conversation.
    The one thing I can take from this offseason is to bet on big time players going to teams that aren’t mentioned…

    1. loyal100more

      it does seem quite true that our sources didnt fair to well this offseason. not well indeed… making it very hard for me to put any credibility with there gossip. it sure is fun to fallow the reports around the league… just up to the point that your led off the trail, loose the sent, and get blind sided. another “out of the blue” signing id have to say. but in they’re defense nobody really knows for sure until the ink hits the paper , and id imagine trying to fallow specutation when at the end your correct. so dont feel bad guys, thanks for the reports, but dont think for a second that i can set any stock in your “reliable” sources, until the show some reliability.

    2. DocWimsey

      Actually, WIlson to the Angels was one that they did get right. That had the double whammy of adding a pitcher AND taking one from a rival, and the Angels always have been a team to sign big-name free agents: remember, they play with the idea of facing the Yanks or Sox in October.

      However, all of the others were surprises. Even Pujols to the Angels caught people off-guard: people kept thinking that, ordinarily, the Angels *would* be in on Pujols, but that they were set at 1B.

  13. loyal100more

    an exciting 19 year old from all ive been able to find on him. his frame is massive and at 19 hasnt even began to fill out all the way… so hes gonna loose a step or two. but aside from the “classic outfielder” profile they all seem to go with when describing his game, they love his bat speed, and anticipate that he’ll hit for serious power. as what many scouts project as a first rounder in a draft, some as high as a top 5-10 pick, i love the upside of this kid. any talent of this caliber, that doesnt require a draft pick, or even an accomplished pitcher in a trade… lets do it! last chance to play the big bad big market club, throw some coin around and add some serious depth to the minor league staples.

  14. 2much2say

    February 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply
    What Ozzie was preparing Cespedes for is to start out in the Minors. Maybe the hold up on an agreement is Cespedes demanding a spot on the 25 man roster.
    Right on the mark!!!!
    February 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply
    In that same interview Ozzie also said that Cespedes has said that he will not play in the minors.Thats just crazy if thats the case.

  15. 2much2say

    2much2say February 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink | Reply
    Maybe the hold up on an agreement is Cespedes demanding a spot on the 25 man roster.


    February 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink | Reply
    In that same interview Ozzie also said that Cespedes has said that he will not play in the minors.Thats just crazy if thats the case.

  16. 2much2say

    Next prediction
    Boston Comp = CASH

    1. cubsnivy56

      I hope you are right!

  17. Reality Check

    Theo just got schooled by Billy Beene.. Loving the cubs is a curse in itself.. Another three years of losing, watching minor league players in cubs jerseys, once again praying that prospects pan out.. Just shoot me..

    1. Brian

      Really. Since none of us know what the FO’s interest really was, there is no proof this was “being schooled”. This could be a slap in the face or it may well be what was predicted. Cespedes is the only one that is a “winner” at this time. 4 yrs. with FA, probably no trade clause, go A’s.

    2. Stinky Pete

      Did they have a dance off? Were they playing basketball?

  18. Michael Vazquez

    I BADLY wanted this guy but what the hell, i guess. When do we expect Soler to establish US residency? Extending Garza & signing Soler would make me very happy.

  19. cubsnivy56


    I was gone for a week on vacation and the wife (gasp!!!) made me leave my PC at home.  Thank God for the iPhone, I was able to survive.  Just getting caught up on what I missed whem BOOM, this drops in.  Never saw it coming!  Whatever, let’s get Soler and get spring training started.

    The vacation in Key west was pretty cool.  The weather was pretty unpredictable though.  One day it was 80 and sunny, then 80 with a breeze, then 80 with rain, then 80 with no breeze, then it was 80 and rained all morning followed by an afternoon of 80 and sunshine.  Go figure!  (and now snow and cold back in Iowa today!)(aarrgghh)

    Brett: aaawww!!!  As a granfather of 8, I can apppreciate the day!

  20. JB88

    You know, a thought that just dawned on me is that if the Cubs are pissed today, imagine how flipping mad you might be if you are a Marlins’ fan and wanted Cepedes. There isn’t exactly anything “stupid” about 4 years 36 million that would justify the Marlins being outbid for a guy that they promised to do anything and everything to land.

    Not exactly the best way to pander to your hopeful Cuban fan base …

    1. cubsnivy56

      Great point.

  21. DCF

    This whole story only shows how much of the rumors spread around are just total BS.
    At that nonsense from the rumor mill aside, it seemed pretty clear from the start that the Cubs would not sign a guy like Cespedes. Obviously teams and agents like to pitch stories to the media while the real deals are negotiated behind firmly closed doors. It was pretty much the same pattern with Fielder.

  22. die hard

    Moneyball at its worst…BB must be thinking hes Brad Pitt

  23. Curt

    this just makes no sense for the a’s this is the same team tht won’t pay it’s starters and trades them away on a reg basis do now they sign a 26 yr myb he will myb he won’t be a good player I’d rather they make a much harder play for Solent who after we hear forever will sign with the cubs will on the end play for someone who wasn’t on the radar hope he does end up here but I don’t believe any of the bs anymore until I see the press conference.

    1. Andrew

      who says they wont just turn around and trade cespedes for a big haul of prospects if he is everything we all thought he was. The contract is pretty cheap if he is the 20-20 guy we think he is.

      1. JB88

        Given that the Cubs’ FO has been reported not to want to give out NTCs and it has been widely reported that the Marlins DO NOT give out NTCs, my guess is that neither the Cubs nor the Marlins were willing to give Cepedes a NTC and probably weren’t willing to go as low as 4 years for him.

        It seems to me that Cepedes wanted both a short term contract and assurances that he’d be with the same team the entire contract. My uninformed guess is that those will both be terms we see when the details of Cepedes’ deal shake out.

  24. ferrets_bueller

    Lost in all of this, is Manny Ramirez. He’s gotta be sh*tting bricks right now- Oakland was the only team that seemed to be legitimately interested in him, and their already crowded OF/DH/1B just got more so.

    1. Luke

      Baltimore’s shown some interest in Manny too, and they need a reason for people to come to the ballpark. I’m guessing he winds up an Oriole.

  25. OHBearCub

    Maybe he wanted to play in an organization that has one of the best baseball minds leading it. Billy Beane is no slouch. Maybe he watched Money Ball and said that’s my guy. Who know’s. There are a lot of smart people in baseball but they aren’t in the media 99.9% of the time. They are nothing more than baseball paparazzi. It’s like the old game. Put 10 people in a room sitting in a circle. Tell the first person a story and as him or her to repeat it to the person next them and so on until it get all the way around the room. That person tells the story which is nothing like the original story a the start of the exercise. That’s exactly what the baseball media is all about. Get some information and twist it in their minds to meet their own needs and pass it along. Goes for all sports not just baseball. Not saying all media people are liars. I got a degree in Journalism. Just saying they need a story and usually that’s what you get a STORY.

    1. Doug

      Did you say you have a degree in Journalism? Photo Journalism?

      1. ferrets_bueller

        No, he said he ‘got’ one, LMFAO.

        1. Doug

          Perhaps that was found at the bottom of a Cracker Jack Box?

          1. Luis Salazar

            Calm down dudes… No one wants to hear petty arguements on here. We all have the same goal, to have the Cubs win..

  26. OHBearCub

    Get a fuc&ing life. I’m sure your a genius. Impress me with something other than your smart mouth.

    1. Doug

      Lighten up Francis!! Everybody busts balls on here. I would expect a fellow veteran to have thicker skin than that.

    2. Matt

      I am sure OHBearCub “you’re” a genius too.

      1. ferrets_bueller


  27. OHBearCub

    Cracker Jack Boxes are hard to find these days. Hope you find yours. Maybe it’s in a bag of Skittles.

    1. TWC

      You’re suggesting that one can find a Cracker Jack box inside a bag of Skittles?


      1. SirCub

        Wait. Where do you keep your Cracker Jack boxes?

        1. TWC

          M&Ms bags.  Duh.

          1. SirCub

            Huh, I usually keep my spare change in M&M bags.

  28. ferris

    glad cubs didnt go that high….we havent moved sori so being saddled with a ? for another 8.5m per wouldnt help…..and i hope the cubs dont just cut sori thats to much money to eat an let him perform elsewhere..we all know hes a d.h. and that in that role his numbers would be better we shouldnt pay 54m to let the yanks or someone else get 25-30 hrs for the league min. id rather us keep him an bat him sixth an build the roster around the other eight…..maybe stewart sees a few more fastballs with sori behind him.


    byrd to mia., tx. or wash.

    1. Andrew

      If Byrd or soriano is gone, Brett Jackson would definitely start in center.

  29. Luis Salazar

    Oakland… What a shithole. Good luck with that Cespedes. You’ll be forgotten in 2 yrs at that place.

    1. DocWimsey

      Why? If Cespedes posts solid numbers, then the baseball world will pay attention. You can bet that the Yanks, Sox, Phils, Angels, etc. will be keeping an eye on him if he succeeds.

      1. Luis Salazar

        Just saying… Oakland is by far least exciting place in baseball IMO. I guess if he is good enough anywhere people will take notice, but Oakland bores the hell out of me. But thats just me…

        1. Brian Myers

          I don’t know… back in the days of the “bash brothers” (McGuire and Canseco) when they had Lansford, Steinbach, Eckersley and a host of other well known players, Oakland was a good place to play ball. It wasn’t like Montreal where players went to die (or ran to leave).

          They just don’t have the budget to keep a good club together anymore.

          1. DocWimsey

            The A’s also had a dynasty 15 years before that, and they had great attendance 10 years ago when they were constantly fielding competitive teams. They’ve actually been a very solid franchise.

  30. NL_Cubs

    Happy to hear this Cespedes non-sense is over. A much bigger deal for the Cubs to now go after and land 19 yo Soler.