Knobler: How Did The A's Sign Yoenis Cespedes?

All along, there was one question:

(1) How good is Yoenis Cespedes going to be?

Now, there are two questions:

(1) How good is Yoenis Cespedes going to be?
(2) How did Yoenis Cespedes end up signing with the Oakland Athletics, of all teams?

We still can't answer question No. 1. There will be no answering question No. 1 until we know a lot more about Cespedes than we do today. As for question No. 2, Danny Knobler investigates:

When Cespedes' agents approached the A's recently after finding a softer-than-expected market elsewhere, the A's saw opportunity. They know that signing Cespedes for $36 million over four years is a risk -- an expensive risk for a team that doesn't have any other player signed for more than $6 million this year.

But they also know that the upside is great. The scouts who like Cespedes compare his combination of power and speed to Bo Jackson.

You just don't find players like that. The A's don't find them, anyway, not in their price range.

In the end, Cespedes got a better deal from the A's than the one the Marlins offered ($36 million over six years, according to sources). But Cespedes had also told officials from other teams that he preferred not to go to Miami, because of the potential circus playing in a city with a huge Cuban exile population.

It wouldn't be right to say that Cespedes fell into Oakland's lap. There was competition, and Oakland has made a considerable commitment that could very well blow up in its face. But I'm guessing that at no point did the A's think they had what it would take until recently. Then they started getting excited.

The A's have tried to spend on a few players. Some of those players didn't want their money. Cespedes is happy to take their money and play as well as he can in exchange. If he doesn't work out, he doesn't work out, but if he does work out, then the A's got a star for less than it usually takes to get stars.

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