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SBD/February 14, 2012/Franchises
MLB's Offseason Of Surprises Continues As A's Ink Cuban OF Cespedes To $36M Deal
Published February 14, 2012
SHOCK HEARD ROUND THE WORLD: USA TODAY's Jorge Ortiz writes the move "came as a shock partly because the A's were not even in the periphery of clubs supposedly wooing the multi-tooled Cespedes, but also because they had clearly indicated their intention to restructure the team so it could contend again when it moved to a hoped-for new stadium in San Jose" (USA TODAY, 2/14). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes $36M is a "startling figure, downright stupefying, for the A's, a downtrodden franchise that seems to take perverse delight in constantly hiding beneath its motto: 'Sure, we can afford to compete -- but why bother when we're being forced to survive in a dump?'" But maybe this is A's VP & GM Billy Beane "exhibiting his vision." Insofar as the A's "seem confident about acquiring their San Jose panacea, perhaps this is less about expense than investment" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 2/14). MLB.com's Jane Lee notes the move "also perhaps restores faith in doubtful fans." Cespedes' signing "would seem to complement the A's plans of contending in that new home, although there's no guarantee he'll still be with the A's when that time comes" (MLB.com, 2/13). YAHOO SPORTS' Jeff Passan noted the move "shocked the industry because these are the A's." But the deal "makes so much sense we should've seen it coming." Cespedes "could be special," and special "costs a whole lot more than $36 million." With Cespedes, the A’s payroll is "likely to creep from lowest in baseball to second-lowest." The A's signed Cespedes because "they had to," and in this marketplace, "with their situation, giving $36 million to a kid who hasn't taken a single major-league at-bat is about the only way the A's can carve that path to contention" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/13).
ULTERIOR MOTIVES? ESPN's Karl Ravech asked, “Is it possible that the A’s -- who have done this -- they literally find something and then they also use it as a chip to get prospects? They could trade Cespedes for 14-year-olds in two years.” ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said that is “always a possibility with the A’s." Kurkjian: "Just look at what they did in this off-season, trading their young pitchers” (“Baseball Tonight,” ESPN, 2/13).