Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking News: A's Sign Yeonis Cespedes

Despite entering the offseason in full-sellers mode, and trying to get their payroll down as low as possible while still attempting to field a competitive team, the A's made a signing Monday that sent some shock throughout the baseball world and free agency.

The A's, for the first time that I can remember really, actually went out and signed a big name free agent to a multi-year deal. They got Cespedes for just 4 years and $36 million, roughly $25 million less than Billy Beane and the A's brain-trust thought he'd get coming into the offseason, so to them, they just got a potential superstar at about 1/2 the price they expected him to go for. Now, I watched a lot of that Cespedes tape from Youtube, and saw his winter league coverage and talked about him at various times over at our Giants Blog as a potential replacement for Carlos Beltran, but they never seemed the least bit interested. Cespedes is a 26 year-old power hitting, fast running outfielder who reminds scouts of a blend of Andruw Jones and Vlad Guerrero, two guys you certainly want to be compared to as a Latin player. The A's were in the market for a DH/power hitting outfielder type, but I though Beane would go for Manny Ramirez, but I think they saw this as a deal too good to pass up. Supposedly, Ramirez is still on the table for Oakland as well, so more offense could be on the way. Cespedes has the ability to hit 30 homers and steal 20-30 bases on raw talent alone, let alone what he'll be like in 2 years after learning the league a bit. The 26 year-old should enter spring as the favorite to win one of the open outfield spots, as there's no way the A's will be paying this guy $9M per year to ride the pine.

Again, I've never seen Cespedes actually play a full game, just parts and highlights, but there's a reason why I wanted the Giants to pursue him so heavily, and at the time, I expected him to get upwards of $50 million. The fact that his price tag fell down into the 30's should have raised the Giants interest, but it was the A's who snuck in at the final hour and made the coup and I think they'll be mighty glad they did. It's funny too, because I just did an A's roster analysis as they set to enter spring next week, and now they pull off a move like this! I'll be watching as close as anyone to see how this pans out, but what a better way to generate interest around a lackluster team losing it's fan base? Especially with the Hispanic culture in the Bay Area! That was a brilliant signing as it not only helps the team on the field, but it also gives the team relevance in the town of Oakland again. They have a player to be excited about and go to the ballpark for. It's no longer just Mark Ellis and Kurt Suzuki and those guys. I questioned it very heavily at first, but the A's offseason has turned out pretty well considering. Here is the new projected A's lineup (as you'll see, looking a lot more formidable) with Cespedes, posted below that is the Youtube vid that Cespedes' people put together for MLB teams.

CF Coco Crisp
2B Jemile Weeks
DH Seth Smith
RF Yeonis Cespedes
C Kurt Suzuki
3B Scott Sizemore
1B Kila Ki'ahuie
LF Michael Taylor
SS Cliff Pennington

Still not a powerhouse, but with Weeks, Taylor and Cespedes, this team is starting to accumulate some young positional talent. If only they'd go get Wilson Betimet for third base and Derek Lee at first, both who'd probably cost a combined $5 million for 2012. In case you haven't seen a lick of Cespedes yet, here's an idea of what the kid will bring to Oakland!Link

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