The Oakland Athletics are prepared to sign a Cuban national, Yoenis Cespedes, after a lousy season in which the team had an abundance of trades.
Cespedes, 26, hit .333 and broke the Cuban League record with 33 home runs while driving in 99 RBIs in Cuba’s 90 game season.
The A’s signed Cespedes to a four year $36 million contract. He will earn $6.5 million in 2012, $8.5 million next season, and $10.5 in each of the two final years of the deal, according to Cespedes’ agent Adam Katz who spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Miami Marlins were one of several teams interested in Cespedes. The team reportedly offered him a contract, but wanted to lock the right-handed hitter into a six year, $36 million contract.
The Washington Nationals were also interested early in the process, but scouts weren’t convinced he was worth the amount of money that he was likely to be offered.
The deal makes Cespedes the highest paid A’s player this year, ahead of the $6 million Coco Crisp is set to make in 2012, without ever playing a game in the Major League.
If Cespedes can put up a fraction of the numbers in the American League West that he did in Cuba, where he averaged over one home run every three games, he will improve Oakland’s offense, which ranked 20th in runs scored a year ago.
“At the end of the day with all these big free agents, it comes down to the total package,” Katz said. “And basically, this was a player who felt like this club wanted him more than anybody else.”
The A’s have made more news this offseason for what they haven’t kept, than for whom they recruited.
All-Stars Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey were shipped to other teams.
It has been no secret that the A’s are hoping for a new stadium out of the Bay area, possibly in San Jose.
Cespedes join the team for Spring training once he receives his worker’s visa because he is a Cuban national.