Nobody saw this one coming.
Yahoo! Sports's Tim Brown reported on Twitter that Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to terms with the Oakland Athletics. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the terms of the contract on Twitter: four years, $36 million.
In a stunning turn of events for a team that dealt off a large amount of MLB talent, including Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, Billy Beane grabbed the Cuban home run champion for $8 million a year.
This offseason has been a busy one for Beane with his outfielders, re-signing Coco Crisp, trading for Seth Smith and, now (reportedly) signing Cespedes. The A's anxiously await Bud Selig's approval for a move to San Jose, but if we've learned anything from Selig (supposedly) reviewing Pete Rose's lifetime ban from baseball, Lew Wolff and Beane shouldn't hold their breath.
With word yesterday that the Marlins were the clear-cut front runners for Cespedes, and with the Marlins having been the only team to meet with him, it seemed inevitable that the Miami Marlins would find their center fielder in the 26-year-old Cespedes.
Billy Beane has now banked on Cespedes' Cuban League successes transferring over to the Major League. Cespedes will be looked upon to anchor the Oakland lineup in 2012 and beyond.
In an offseason filled with surprises involving hyped free-agent signings, this one easily caught everyone off guard and may just be the biggest curveball of the year.
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