Oakland A's Surprise the League by Signing Yoenis Cespedes

Michael Nargi@NargOnSportsSenior Analyst IFebruary 13, 2012

Maybe Cespedes will be able to turn things around for Oakland.
Maybe Cespedes will be able to turn things around for Oakland.Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Billy Beane has made his first big move since signing a contract extension last week.

As recently as Sunday night, MLB.com reported that the Miami Marlins were still the favorite to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

On Monday, however, the Oakland Athletics swept in and signed the 26-year-old, according to Tim Brown.

This is a surprising move considering Oakland does not look like a team that will be in serious contention this season.

They traded their best pitcher, Gio Gonzalez, to the Washington Nationals in the offseason. They have a lot of flaws, so it seems odd that they decided to sign Cespedes. 

What makes the deal even more shocking is the price they paid for him. Sources are reporting that the deal is worth $36 million over four years. 

John Heyman reports that the Marlins offered him a six-year deal worth $36 million. Cespedes did not have much of a decision when it came down to the two offers.

Along with the Marlins and the Chicago White Sox, the Baltimore Orioles had been mentioned as a sleeper team in contention to sign Cespedes. It will be the Athletics, however, that will be the beneficiary of the Cuban outfielders services in 2012 and beyond.

In 90 games last season in Cuba, Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI.

He has the potential to be a significant contributor to an offensively-challenged A's ballclub.