Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a $36 million, four-year contract.
Agent Adam Katz confirmed Monday the sides had reached agreement, with details still to be finalized. This is a significant move for Oakland, which now has the steady hitter it sought to boost the roster heading into 2012. The A's also have expressed interest in slugger Manny Ramirez.
The A's, hoping to be given clearance from Major League Baseball to relocate to San Jose and construct a new ballpark, have been in rebuilding mode this winter. Oakland traded starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and also All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.
Apparently the Marlins thought they had a bead on him. From Greg Cote of the Miami Herald:
It seemed a no-brainer that Cuban-defector outfielder and slugger Yoenis Cespedes would end up a Marlin, but he signed today with the Oakland A's. It apparently came down to money. He agreed to a four-year $36 million deal with Oakland. Am told Miami's offer topped out at $8 million per year. Cespedes had said outright he'd like to play here, and the Marlins were envisioning marketing gold, but it came down to Cespedes exercising his newfound freedom to embrace capitalism for all it's worth. Cannot blame the Marlins for what seemed a fair offer. Plenty of potential in Cespedes, but not enough proof to go higher on the $$$.
Another Herald article, from Sunday:
“This kid is a baseball player," [said new Marlins' manager Ozzie Guillen]. "They compare him with [Raul] Mondesi. I think Mondesi was better than him. That’s my own opinion. Mondesi has a better arm, faster, but this kid is pretty good.”
Eduardo Perez, the Marlins’ hitting coach, said he doesn’t doubt that Cespedes will succeed in the majors whether it’s with the Marlins or some other team. Perez saw Cespedes play in person when he managed in international competition for Puerto Rico.
“He’s powerful and he’s got all the skills,” Perez said of Cespedes, who holds Cuba’s single-season home run record. “This guy’s a complete package when you talk about five-tool players.” (Full article)
Here's Cespedes hitting a big fly in Cuba: