By Jason Wojciechowski on February 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM
You probably heard that the A's signed Yoenis Cespedes for four years and $36M and an agreement that he'll be a free agent after the fourth year. I have no idea how good he is, but I'm planning a post later looking at scenarios for the A's outfield and 1B/DH situations based on the signing. For now, some links.
Jane Lee, presumably parroting something the A's told her, says that Cespedes is best-suited for center field.
Jonah Keri says it's entirely possible that Cespedes will earn his salary even if you look at the deal only as a three-year, $36M pact (the actual deal is four years) on the theory that he might need time in the minors to adjust. He also posits, in the last paragraph, that there could be some marketing value for Oakland. It's not an unreasonable suggestion, but I think if we picked some numbers out of the air in terms of direct revenue growth caused by Cespedes, they might not impress very much. What you hope for is degrees of growth, I think, whereby the A's are a better team, contend earlier, translate that contention into good acquisitions who further contention, re-start the rivalry with the Angels, and so forth.
Steve Slowinski weighs in at FanGraphs and notes Oakland's outfield surplus. He thinks this shows a lack of faith in Chris Carter (who I don't think anyone believes is an outfielder any longer), Collin Cowgill (who was more or less already shunted aside by Seth Smith and Jonny Gomes), and Michael Taylor (who began the off-season as a potential RF starter only by default). In other words, I don't see Cespedes saying much at all about these three beyond what's already been said.
I like Grant Brisbee's take, which is that the move isn't bizarre, it's just insane. That seems to me to strike the write note.
Keith Law has a very detailed scouting report, noting that Cespedes has a lot of power but questionable hitting ability overall, and his defense/speed is likely a better fit for a corner (he has the arm for right) than center, whatever Jane Lee might think.
Christina Kahrl has a list of things to ask about Cespedes and preaches caution in terms of expecting the performance to match the hype.
The people John Sickels talks to leave him thinking that Cespedes could actually play well in center.
Matthew Pouliot looks at the A's roster for 2014. I think it looks pretty cool, although I don't imagine Seth Smith will be around and I'd bet on Josh Reddick being a success over Grant Green, especially considering that Green is learning a new position in Sacramento.
Kevin Goldstein's writeup of Cespedes says that while scouts' estimated that he'd need 1/4 to 1/2 season in the minors to get ready, the A's could be breaking camp with him. In Japan, note.
Susan Slusser's story includes some tidbits about Manny Ramirez (still a possibility, but only after a reliever), Mike Gonzalez (maybe a target), and Koji Uehara (also maybe a target), though it makes the curious assertion that Michael Taylor is the last remaining piece of the Matt Holliday trade in the organization -- unless I'm mistaken, Shane Peterson, who came over directly with Brett Wallace (who turned into Michael Taylor) is still an Athletic, and Kila Ka'aihue is part of the Holliday trade tree (Holliday->Mortensen->Hollingsworth->Ka'aihue).
I'm not sure what the point of Tyler Kepner's column is, but the death sentence handed to Michael Ynoa by all and sundry is always interesting to see. Dude had Tommy John surgery. Let's let him get back to actually pitching before we bury him.
Nico sees the A's ready to contend in 2014, with the Rangers potentially vulnerable (although their enormous TV deal could keep the ride going a little longer than it might otherwise, and that's not even to mention their absurd farm system).
In a non-Cespedes story, Jane Lee writes that the "A's are hoping [Chris] Carter can finally grab the reins" at D.H. Hope isn't faith or belief, but at least the team appears to still have hope. It sometimes feels that the A's don't think Chris Carter will ever amount to anything.
Corey Dawkins has a look at ex-Athletic Justin Duchscherer as part of his "DL Kings" series at Baseball Prospectus, examining the most-injured players of the last decade.
Kevin Goldstein's Top 101 Prospects was published today. The A's have seven players on the list, and it's sort of eight, because Goldstein says that Yoenis Cespedes would slot in at #20 if he were on the list. Grant Green at #100 is the surprise to me, and the top guy listed is all the way down at #39, so it's, as Keith Law sees it, a system without the superstars at the top. Still, seven is nothing to sneeze at.
Jose Canseco is apparently going to ball for Quintana Roo in the Mexican League.
Nico at Athletics Nation comes up with some comps for Tommy Milone.
David Schoenfield has AL West position rankings up at the mothership. When Jemile Weeks, who is likely no slouch, places fourth of four at second base, then you know you've got a strong position in the division. (And Jose Altuve is on his way!) The A's don't have the top player at any position, and I can't really argue with that. I'd put Seth Smith second in left field over Mike Carp, though, especially since it seems like it's more Smith/Jonny Gomes than just Smith (though who knows).
chainsawsuit's take on Moneyball is awesome as usual. (I don't get a chance to link to very many webcomics, so damn if I'm going to skip this one.)