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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Marlins offer Yoenis Cespedes less than $40 million

Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins’ offer to free agent Yoenis Cespedes was worth less than $40 million.

From Rotoworld.com:

A source told Eric Reynoso of Cafe Fuerte on Saturday that the Marlins made an offer this week of “around $40 million.” And now we can guess that it was probably in the 30s. Cespedes returned to the Dominican Republic on Thursday night after meeting only with the Fish. The Cubs, White Sox, Orioles and Tigers are thought to be interested in the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder as well.

At this point it doesn’t appear as though Cespedes has meetings scheduled with any other teams. But that may not be a big deal seeing as how he can’t officially sign a contract until the Office of Foreign Assets Control unlocks him. Who knows how long this process will be dragged out for but the Marlins remain the clear favorites.

That said, the club to keep an eye on is the Tigers. Their desire to acquire an outfielder is well known and just because they gave Prince Fielder a mega-contract that they won’t be willing or able to sign Cespedes. Detroit is hot after a World Series title after losing to the Cardinals in the 2006 Fall Classic and to the Rangers in last season’s ALCS.

Then again, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that “there was a lot of talk late in the week” about the Orioles being a “sleeper team.” So who knows at this point?

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