Monday, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes shocked the fraction of the world that knew about Yoenis Cespedes by agreeing to terms with the Oakland Athletics. That's the Oakland Athletics instead of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins said they would be "aggressive to the point of stupidity" when it came to getting Cespedes signed. They lost him, to the Oakland Athletics. If it was weird before that all of a sudden the Marlins were big spenders, consider that the big -spending Marlins were just out-spent by the A's. And the Yankees and Red Sox are trying to practice fiscal restraint. Weird times. The world might not end in 2012, but it seems the world as we knew it is indeed long gone.
Let's get back to Cespedes. At ESPN, Christina Kahrl presents "Things to ask about Yoenis Cespedes." There are a lot of things you could ask about Yoenis Cespedes. What is his favorite color? What is his second-favorite color? What was the color of his childhood bedroom? But Kahrl narrows it down to three:
1. Why go to Oakland?
2. What does this deal say about his value?
3. Is Cespedes all that?
Click through for responses and commentary. A glimpse:
So, what did the Athletics get for their $36 million? That’s the question we don’t have the answer for, but as gambles go, you can understand why the A’s did it. It’s a bet Cespedes will provide premium outfield defense wherever they put him -- all the better to help a young pitching staff. And if Billy Beane wants to swing another deal, having Cespedes gives him the flexibility to shop Crisp.
I do have a few issues. For one, Kahrl seems to imply that Crisp's defense is only valuable in center, and not in a corner. For two, the Marlins reportedly offered Cespedes $36 million, just like the A's did, only for more years. And for three, I'm skeptical of translated Cuban statistics, just like I'm skeptical of minor league equivalencies. Cespedes is a scouting grab, not a numbers grab.
But overall, the point is the point: surprise! Risk! A's! Maybe! If Cespedes pans out, the A's will look sharp and they'll reap the rewards. If Cespedes doesn't pan out, at least the A's tried. They've committed the money to the highly sought-after talent. Now it's up to the talent.