Yoenis Cespedes’ deal with A’s has Billy Beane written all over it

Billy Beane, general manager of MLB’s Oakland A’s arrives at the gala presentation for the film ‘Moneyball’ at the 36th Toronto International Film Festival September 9, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Cassese (CANADA – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SPORT BASEBALL BUSINESS)

Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s shocked the MLB world on Monday when they agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract with free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Cuba. The move was rather surprising considering the A’s weren’t mentioned among the group of teams that were interested in signing Cespedes over the last few weeks.

The deal was also surprising when you consider that the A’s are supposed to be a cap-strapped organization. While there’s no doubt that a relative unknown like Cespedes is worth the risk for an Oakland club that is desperate for offense, the A’s have multiple holes to fill before they’re competitive again. Thus, it raised some eyebrows that Oakland was willing to give Cespedes more money than what the Reds handed Aroldis Chapman ($30.25 million over six years) back in January 2010. Chapman, of course, was the last Cuban player that was pursued by MLB teams.

Then again, this Cespedes deal has Beane written all over it.

Ken Rosenthal tweeted on Tuesday that Cespedes’ contract with the A’s does not include a no-trade clause. So in other words, if he becomes a star player down the road and Oakland doesn’t think it can re-sign him long-term, Beane can dangle the outfielder in front of as many teams as he wants. If Cespedes becomes an All-Star, Beane can complete one of his trademark deals where he unloads one player for multiple prospects, all while saving the Oakland organization money in the process.

There’s a chance that the A’s are starting to loosen the Kung fu grip they have on their checkbooks and want to build a competitive team centered around Cespedes and their young pitching. But knowing how Oakland and Beane have operated over the years, it wouldn’t be surprising if Cespedes’ name came up in trade talks sooner rather than later.

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