A hot stove season that was full of surprises is ending with one more stunner.
Cuban expat Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland Athletics have come to terms on a deal, Yahoo! Sports' own Tim Brown first reported on Monday morning. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle followed with a report that Cespedes' contract is worth $36 million over four years.
[Related: Baseball's ultimate free-agent tracker]
The agreement finally provides an end to an offseason storyline that began at the beginning of November, when a hilarious video featuring the 26-year-old outfielder hit YouTube. Cespedes was linked to almost every team imaginable in the more than three months that followed with the Miami Marlins often thought to be the front runner.
But MLB Network's Peter Gammons notes the A's were eventually able to land Cespedes because the team "wanted him more than anyone else." In Cespedes, the A's are getting the type of high-ceiling offensive bat they haven't been able to produce over the past decade. But as Jeff Passan also notes, there's an element of risk/assumption tied into the A's deal. The first assumption is that Cespedes is actually 26 as he and his agents claim. The second would be Cespedes having the ability to hit the ground running in the big leagues as Billy Beane sure isn't going to pay someone $9 million a year to sit in his minor-league system.
All in all, though, this has to be considered a great day for Oakland fans. After an offseason that saw three big-league pitchers shuttled off for prospects, they finally have a giant bat to watch in that otherwise moribund lineup. Maybe that optimistic dawn really is here as the A's prepare to make their inevitable move to San Jose.
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