The Yoennis Céspedes sweepstakes ended in the most surprising manner. As you may know, most people saw the Marlins as frontrunners to acquire him, even offering him a deal close to 40 million dollars a few days ago.
But yesterday the Oakland Athletics came out of nowhere and ended up inking the 27-year old Cuban defector with a $36MM contract for four years of service.
Although many Fish fans -including myself- received this announcement like a slap in the face, there’s still a shred of rationality lingering all over us. And the Front Office seemed to know that as well.
#Marlins wanted Cespedes but fact he wanted a shorter deal with A's was a factor. Marlins weren't going $9 mil a yr—
Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) February 13, 2012
Baseball is a business. It’s all about the money you manage to pocket season after season. And although $6MM every 365 days were tempting, Céspedes opted to take the shorter route and choose the option that awarded him the most cash every year.
On other aspects, it seems that the “geographic locale” aspect of the operation also fell short, even after considering that the player they were following established temporary residence in the Dominican Republic.
#Marlins were never naive enough to think Cespedes would choose his team based on proximity to Little Havana. They sure got that right.—
Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) February 13, 2012
That’s what it’s all about, ladies and gentlemen. That’s what it’s all about.
It’ll be interesting to see Céspedes in the West Coast, no doubt about that, where he’ll have to live up to the expectations generated by his huge contract. Aside from him being an extremely high-risk, high-reward player, you have to consider that he’s never faced Major League pitching, and he had huge trouble with breaking balls during his stint in the Dominican League. Yeah, I know that 35 at-bats is a small sample size, but it does tell something. Now AL West pitchers know that they can make widespread use -and abuse- of their off-speed pitches when facing him. Besides, what do we know about his defensive abilities? Next to nothing.
On the Marlins’ side of things, the acquisition of Céspedes by Oakland pretty much sets Emilio Bonifacio as the squad’s starting center fielder for this season. Not that he hasn’t earned it, I tell you. His speed and improved approach to the plate -which led him to set career-highs in practically every offensive category- will help the team immensely, making an outstanding 1-2 punch with José Reyes, who’ll most likely lead off for Miami. This combination might remind us of the Juan Pierre/Luis Castillo combo, an instrumental part of the machine that won the 2003 World Series.
As for Yoennis, good riddance. May you end up being one of the biggest busts in baseball history. There, I said it.