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  1. They love making moves that make zero sense. I’m starting to feel like Brad Pitt would make a better GM at this point than the real Billy Beane. There’s only so long you can hold onto past glory.

    Comment by Pat — February 13, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  2. I think he could/should flip Smith to Detroit or NYY

    Comment by Psst — February 13, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seth Smith was on the move again and Brandon Allen as well.

    Comment by Spike — February 13, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  4. I thought the Rox and NYY were going to work something out for Smith originally.

    Comment by Spike — February 13, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  5. “…but the A’s only need him to be an average major-league player (2.0 WAR/year) for this to be a market-value deal”.

    That would be the case if you assume that he is going to start in the big leagues from year 1.

    Comment by Flex0us — February 13, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  6. BB: Oh heyyyyyyyyy Arizona! I was just wondering if we could, you know, undo our trade thingy?
    ARI: No takie backsies.
    ARI: No we wouldn’t.

    Comment by robertobeers — February 13, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  7. “There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s always good to add talent if it comes at a reasonable price and fits in the budget.”

    Hey Steve, can you explain this concept to Carson? He was pretty negative about the Nationals signing Edwin Jackson and I would say they are much more likey to compete next year than the A’s are over the next four years. I guess if the A’s have the money its worth the lotto ticket that Cespedes might turn out but I agree with Pat that this seems like an unecessary move given the risk and the backlog of in house options.

    Comment by Ronin — February 13, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  8. That’s also only the case if you assume the A’s value marginal wins at the same rate as the market. We know they do not. Or at least, we know they should not.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — February 13, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  9. If he’s really Jones/Upton at the plate and average fielding LF’er then by my calcs he’s basically a 3.5 WAR player as a 26yo. For 36M/6y, our questions and discussions should be over.

    5.6 POS
    13 BAT
    18 R-LVL
    0 FLD
    0 BR
    36.6 runs = 3.7 WAR

    A weak offensive team just signed a good MLB player for half the price he’s worth.

    My personal view is that he’s not a 3.5 WAR player, has a swing that could be exposed in a big way (he swings it like a club) and like many talented 26yo, he’s tearing up A or AA level/equivalent pitching.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 13, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

  10. I’m guessing you find the world in general pretty puzzling.

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  11. This.

    Giving a player $36M over four years without any MLB experience (and question marks in his scouting report) does not seem like a good deal.

    Ronin referred to him as a lotto ticket. I’ll agree with that assessment. A miniscule chance at the jackpot, a small chance at a moderate pay out, and a large probability of not hitting at all.

    Comment by Anon — February 13, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  12. 4 years, not 6.

    For $9m a year, 2 WAR a year is enough to justify the deal. But I agree with you that he’s very unlikely to be a 2 WAR guy, he’s either going to be a 4 WAR guy or a 0 WAR guy. If you think it’s 50-50, it’s a nice little gamble Beane is taking. He can flip the 4 WAR guy for more prospects in 2012 if he doesn’t think the contract is long enough to get into their next success cycle. And while the 0 WAR guy just burned $36M, it the top 5 picks they need the next few years.

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

  13. Wish this site had edit feature, my post should have said “it helps them meet minimum MLB payroll requirements while they get the top 5 picks the need”

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  14. I have a hard time seeing why this makes sense for Cespedes, and tons of reasons why it makes sense for Oakland. Is the team even staying in Oakland? Does his representation think the park is good for his numbers? What other pieces are around him? If he wanted to play on the west coast, there are several options in that area. The market much be must different than what was reported.

    Comment by Randy — February 13, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  15. it’s not a lottery ticket if you have the ability to make your own talent evaluation. The A’s people clearly liked him, as did others… doesn’t mean he’ll be a good ML regular but the A’s budget was almost non-existant and so they can take chances when players like this become available….

    When top established MLers become FAs the A’s always have trouble closing those deals and not for lack of trying. If this is level they can play at, then I applaud BB for taking the risk.

    Comment by Spike — February 13, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

  16. When I see him swing I think “Vlad GUerrero”, although not as dramatic. Vlad is a freak at the MLB level. YC is a freak in the Cuban League.

    He’s very strong, but he swings with a front hand pulling the bat (almost a straight front arm, arm bar) most times. I have seen his swing look very good at contact and then look “clubbish” in the follow through, but follow through doesn’t matter, the ball’s already left the bat.

    I don;t know how popular the slider is in Cuba, but generally it and changeups are death to strong like bull, top hand pullers. They do tend, however, to hit the absolute **** out of any fastball that’s middle to middle out … inside pitches tend to be tougher as they jam themselves.

    I have no idea what the avr velocity is for a SP in Cuba, but in the US isn’t it 92-93?

    What comes to mind for me is the 2010 version of Soriano, some power, a few walks, decent to good defense, a lot of awkward swings at sliders, but generally a average to good player despite some of the awkwardness.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 13, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  17. The A’s are paying him the same amount as the Marlins, but over 2 less years. That means if he’s a star, he’ll hit free agency at age 30 instead of 32, and that’s worth a ton of money. And if he’s a flop, it works out the same. He can still live in Miami all winter and nightclub with The Situation all he wants.

    And I’m betting the new park will be a wee bit more hitter friendly.

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  18. 4 years, not 6.

    My bad.

    Beane can have Cespedes for 9M/y, I’ll take my risks with the Kyle Blanks of the world and look for 2WAR/400K. Those guys are out there and readily available without having to make far-reaching projections based on what a 26yo in the Cuban League might do at the MLB level. I take it the plan is for him to start right off in ML and AA or AAA?

    I think we’re going to see some Pedro Cerrano … he’ll absolutely obliterate some middle-out FBs, and swing and miss horribly as some of the bendy stuff. But average defense, full season, decent on the bases, and average+ stick is a 3 WAR LF.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 13, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  19. I have first pick in TWO NL-only Ultra drafts. First I lose out on Darvish, now Cespedes. Thanks a lot, stupid AL West!

    Comment by Cookierojas16 — February 13, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  20. What I see for the A’s right now is an extraordinary deep OF, three infield starters (Weeks, Sizemore, and Pennington) who combined for 5.4 WAR in 355 total games, and 4 lottery tickets/depth at 1B in Barton, Carter, Allen, and Kila.

    Combine that with mostly young, under team control pitching.

    All of this with an fairly low payroll. So, what has Beane done so wrong in forming this year’s team?

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — February 13, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  21. Thanks for linking Clay’s projections. Any word on when Jose Abreu will defect?

    Looks like Clay bumps everyone’s BA down by about .060, do you really think that a guy like Cespedes will only hit .245 with a .311 OBP?

    Comment by MustBunique — February 13, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  22. I would think that if anyone knew when someone would defect, Cuban authorities would do what they could to stop it from happening. Probably don’t get many leaks/rumors on defections.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — February 13, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  23. I was thinking Smith and Milone for Turner

    Comment by Psst — February 13, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  24. Doesn’t it make sense that Crisp gets dealt in July, assuming he’s healthy (big assumption). He would have some real value to a lot of contenders with his + defense and speed combo

    Comment by luckygoon — February 13, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

  25. Yeah Smith for Turner, the Tigers would totally give up their top prospect for a marginal corner OF when they have all corner OF positions covered….

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  26. I come to fangraphs to learn sabermetrics.

    What I really learned is that visitors of fangraphs hate any organization that doesn’t base their entire operation around fWAR.

    This is a bad deal for a guy that has never played in the big leagues, yet is being defended by posters because Billy Beane is the one who made it. The Prince deal is considered a catastrophe on this site, even though the Tigers signed a guy who has performed in the bigs and is entering his peak years.

    I know the Prince deal will be bad at the end, but unless Cespedas can play right away than this deal is much worse.

    Disclaimer: Tigers fan.

    Comment by Doc J — February 13, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  27. Well we also know that for the purposes of this website, every writer has the “linear $/war measure = truth” for all teams and situations.

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  28. How is it a bad deal? You have made no case to support your point.

    Comment by luckygoon — February 13, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  29. This deal is definitely a head scratcher to me. The A’s are famous for making smart, financially savvy moves… because they had really like 2 good seasons. When you think about it, though, the A’s should be recognized as one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league. The Matt Holliday signing, which everyone has been quick to forget because the A’s (were smart enough) to cut and run after just half a season, was a complete debacle and an example of why the A’s have been awful at playing to their strengths. They reside in a ballpark that absolutely saps power, and bolsters even the weakest of pitching staffs. I can see how they hoped Holliday’s hitting ability would enable him to hit, say, 45-50 doubles instead of 30-35 homers, but the fact that they seem to think adding 1 good hitter completely changes their lineup is ridiculous. When the A’s don’t get a single good hitter (which they only did once, with Holliday), they decide to sign every mid-level young player who shows some pop. Then they wonder why their lineup is so god awful when they are relying on guys who normally only hit 25 homers to rake at the coliseum. Articles on fangraphs have long showed the advantage the A’s receive from being at the coliseum, it is significantly easier for them to develop and produce quality pitchers. The A’s need to build a team that has a quality defense, and balanced power. They can’t expect anyone, let alone a bargain basement player, to hit 40 hr in Oaktown. However, if the A’s would try to get a few guys who could hit .300, and maybe pop 15-20 hr, they could see some success. This all brings me to the Cespedes signing, which makes absolutely no sense. Right now, I see the A’s as needing lots of good hitters all over the field. Cespedes, to me, could be a threat somewhere like Yankee stadium, fenway park, coors field, great american, or maybe comerica or wrigley. He clearly has power, which the A’s need, but do they really think this guy is gonna come in from day 1 and hit 30 hr’s in oakland? Who are they kidding? Cespedes will come to oakland and hit .250 in a shitty lineup while hitting maybe 25 dingers. This sucks for him, because he already seemed like a clown who may not develop in the majors, and because he is stuck on a team that seems determined not to acquire talented and fitting players. It sucks for oakland because they just wasted more money a player that doesn’t fit in.

    Comment by hmk — February 13, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  30. While I agree with your second paragraph the remainder, while not wrong per se, it is probably pretty close to wrong in an absolute sense even invoking other measures. Also, I would expect that your negative rating will be at least -20 within the hour, but don’t let that discourage you, the community is a pretty smart group on the whole despite the propensity for flaming posts with the mentality of a pubescent teenager.

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  31. …which the author clearly states two sentences later

    Comment by J Walter Weatherman — February 13, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  32. Well, the only way I can put it would be what other player that have never played in the Major Leagues got. I understand that the draft and LA free agency are different but you are usually getting players with the same experience.

    Bryce Harper- $9.9MM
    BJ Upton- $4.6MM
    Mark Teixiera- $9.5MM

    Just a few. Cespedas gets 4 times that from a team that just traded away 2/5’s of its starting rotation because of a “cycle issue.” YC is 27 now, how does that fit into the cycle?

    Comment by Doc J — February 13, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

  33. hes not gonna be around for the new park – thats 2016 at best, his contract is up in 2015

    Comment by TD — February 13, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  34. Cespedes can be dealt – if he can play (the A’s obviously think he can) then he will be on the move before the end of the “cycle” for pieces that will contribute when they contend in their new ball park.

    Silly to compare this deal and Prince’s deal

    Comment by TD — February 13, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  35. I thought it was open in in 2015? Or has that hope since passed…

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  36. “However, if the A’s would try to get a few guys who could hit .300, and maybe pop 15-20 hr, they could see some success….Right now, I see the A’s as needing lots of good hitters all over the field.”

    You act like these hitters just grow on trees and all the athletics need to do is just go grab them.

    What Beane is doing is building for 2016 when they move into a new ballpark and start spending some money. Hence the deals for young talent. Where Cespedes fits in is that he is a well-regarded prospect a tier below Trout/Harper etc. The A’s think he can play right away and if so, he will add some wins, help the A’s contend sooner like in 2014 or 15 and if they aren’t in contention, be flipped for players that will help in the new ballpark.

    Comment by TD — February 13, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  37. If he becomes a cheaper version of Alfonso Soriano then what type of prospects do they think they can get?

    Comment by Doc J — February 13, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  38. Agreed that the Smith/Milone offer for Turner is laughable, but it’s strange to say that the Tigers’ have all three OF spots covered when Delmon Young is an atrocious fielder who should ideally be DHing for the Tigers.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — February 13, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  39. Yes the As should really go for more 40 HR types. What a fool is BB for not doing so.

    Comment by jeff_bonds — February 13, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  40. Yes I expected a comment about Delmon after I made that post. I really should have headed that one off. My rational belief, though subject to the irrationality of the Tigers, is that Delmon will see most of his time at DH and that Raburn and Boesch will man the corner OF positions most of the time. They have sufficient relative ‘depth’ already to have the OF taken care of was mostly my point. But yes Delmon does stink like something pulled from a dumpster.

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  41. That’s the incorrect way to look at it though. Those guys were not negotiating on the open market, which is why they got so much less than Cespedes. Imagine if those guys had the ability to sign with any of the 30 teams. They would have gotten much more.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — February 13, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

  42. I do not know why this gets so many negative votes. I personally do not mind an occasional mock conversation. Plus 1 for you sir.

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  43. Very true. Take a look at his stats and you might see why I was interested, though.

    Comment by MustBunique — February 13, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  44. I’m guessing you are a Marlins fan who is disappointed Cespedes didn’t go there? I think your description of what the As should be doing is exactly what they have been doing: developing pitching, signing good defenders with 15-20 HR potential, etc. Now they have signed a guy with 25-30 HR potential (your estimate) and that’s bad? I’m confused.

    Comment by luckygoon — February 13, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  45. I expect the same, though with Leyland manning the helm, we could easily see the Tigers use 12 different DHs this year.

    Comment by RationalSportsFan — February 13, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  46. Can’t see how any A’s fan doesn’t like this. Certainly makes the season more interesting, you add a player who has superstar upside (remember the flip side to the “no one is sure how his Cuban success will translate” coin – sure, he could be a useless big-leaguer, or he could respond extremely well). If you’re worried about a logjam in the outfield trust that you have a GM who knows how to make deals and turn one of those OFs into a useful player at another position (or more likely, another prospect or two). The money isn’t bad, and what did you think – they were saving up for Cole Hamels?

    Comment by ODawg — February 13, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  47. If you look up bust then you will find a picture of Yoenis Cespedes.

    Comment by Chone Figgins MVP — February 13, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  48. Strasburg got $15M, and he, like your other comps, were signed as Draft picks, not Free Agents. Free Agents get full market value, Draft picks are forced to negotiate with a monopoly, and only get a fraction of their value. Strasburg probably would have gotten close to $100M had he been a free agent (equivalent to what teams spent to acquire Dice K and Yu Darvish).

    Do yourself a favor, and read a little history, say back in 90s. In 1991 Brien Tayler got the then highest MLB draft draft bonus of. $1.55M. In 1993 Alex Rodriguez signed for $1.3M. Then Scott Boras pulled a brilliant maneuver that got 7th pick Bobby Seay $10M, almost 8 times what A-Rod, a first overall pick and one of the highest rated picks of the decade, got. A few years later a similar loophole made Travis Lee a free agent and he got $10M too.

    So trying to use draft signings to estimate actuall market value is going to put you about 80-90% low in most cases. So now, did you have any case that this was a bad signing?

    Let me help you. It’s an extremely risky signing for a guy that comes form a league without a great record of successful talent in the MLB, and who is difficult to project. I’d love this deal if it was a $24M/4 year deal, but at $9M a year I think the margin for error is too thin.

    I think the justification is that Oakland desperately needs to be creative in acquiring talent, and is willing to use payroll the next 4 years not to put good teams on the field, but to acquire potential stars. This gamble might be worth it from that perspective if you regard their payroll for the next few years to be a sunk cost given they will be (again) the lowest payroll team in their division by a huge amount (spending not much over half of Texas and Seattle’s payroll, and a third of Anahiems), and that the biggest payroll team finally signed a GM who has a clue about how to use their crushing advantage well.

    But even if it’s a mistake, it’s not as horrendous as spending top dollar on a guy who had been passed over for so long there was speculation he might be forced to sign in Japan. And to give $200m+ to someone who isn’t even close to the best player at his position during his prime (due to his awful defense/baserunning he’s 5th in 1B WAR the last 3 years, 7th over the last 5) to play the same position as a much better player you already have, so you can move the better player to a position where he will become an awful defender. The idea that you criticize Beane in the same breath you give your GM/Owner a pass for waiting until the end of the free agency period to spend a huge pile of money they could have spent far more wisely a month earlier, and still didn’t even get a discount or a bargain from the long wait, is quite amusing.

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  49. Cooperstown is already getting one ready for him? I’m starting to like this deal more now!

    Comment by ValueArb — February 13, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  50. He’ll look good selling jeans at least.

    Comment by J.B. — February 13, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  51. A cheaper (and much younger) version of Alphonso Soriano has value

    Comment by luckygoon — February 13, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

  52. I didn’t give DD/Illitch a pass. I fully understand what that contract will look like in the last 4 years.

    I also stated that both the Rule 4 and LA free agency were 2 completely different things. I understand the difference of negotiation on the open market and negotiating with draft picks.

    My issue about YC is a team like Oakland signing him. A larger revenue club has the ability to take on that salary and if it doesn’t work than it won’t be as big an albatross as it will be for the A’s. If he turns out to be awful then you can’t move him and are saddled with $9MM a year worth of a big strikeout machine playing a corner OF spot on a team that claims to be broke and is hoping like hell to move to San Jose. You even agree that the $9MM a year price is to high.

    Comment by Doc J — February 13, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  53. No, that’s the case regardless. Whether the A’s should be satisfied with market-level wins is a separate question from what success level Cespedes needs to be at market levels.

    As for whether the A’s “should”…they shouldn’t be satisfied with that for most of their talent, obviously, since they don’t have the cash to buy 90-95 market value wins. But it’s probably unavoidable that they’ll need at least some wins that they paid free market prices for. I think market value is a good line of demarcation for “not a bad deal” even for Oakland.

    Comment by Minstrel — February 13, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  54. as a fan of one of the spurned suitors (Cubs) I breathed a sigh of relief when I read about this deal. Look at the video of his visit to Miami and hear the alarm bells ringing – complete with shades, bling, and attitude (“I don’t need any time in the minors. I’m ready.”) Some posters compared him to a young Soriano; but I see Sammy Sosa, right down to the bunny hop after each HR – selfish, entitled, a future headache.
    There will be other Cubans in the next 2-3 years, when the Cubs are ready for them – for now, there’s Soler.

    Comment by shel — February 13, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  55. They should trade OF prospect Michael Taylor to the Nationals, because the Nationals also have an OF prospect named Michael Taylor. Would be a great complement to Zimmerman and Zimmermann.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — February 13, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  56. cuz it was lame. i’d thumbs down it twice if i could.

    Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — February 13, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

  57. I guess the Davenport projections have some basis in history for the Cuban league and international competition, but is that level any better than the average US college conference, or around high A minors for competition? With the draft pick comparison in a open market, you have a lot of data to compare those players to where they are allowed to progress naturally unless they decide not to sign when they’re drafted. There’s less expectation that they make an immediate impact on the major league team, and usually a developmental period, however small. Cespedes could spend all year in AA making adjustments, or might totally mess up his approach in the majors when he sees a regular diet of pitchers who know what they’re doing with better stuff than he’s used to seeing. Then you’re looking at a below-replacement guy you’re paying 6.5 million for in the first year, and pretty much have to give him 600 plate appearances the next year since you’ve sunk another 30 million into him. A lot less risk, even if you’re first round guy costs you 15 million, you can develop the guy, because he’s younger. This is about how good Cespedes is going to be, AND he has to make adjustments in the next two years really, to have a chance of being an impact player.

    Comment by mockcarr — February 13, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  58. Did you eat a lot of paint chips when you were a kid?

    Comment by David Spade — February 13, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  59. everyone knows that homerz=winz

    Comment by zeke — February 13, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

  60. Would seem to be the first signing in the history of the San Jos-A’s.

    Comment by Keith — February 13, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

  61. “Straightball I hit it very much. Curveball, bats are afraid.”

    Comment by Vegemitch — February 13, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  62. What’s the point of saying BB and then go and say ARI and not KT?

    Comment by SouthPawRyno — February 13, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

  63. I thought Sammy a little bit too, but Sammy had an absolutely beautiful power swing to go along with the other stuff he did.

    Sosa was viewed at one time as being fun, generous, and a lot of other positives. When he performance dropped, his image changed. Not fair, IMHO.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 13, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  64. Like CircleChange said I would rather take chances on guys like Kyle Blanks who cost basically nothing. If Cespedes was a draft pick who just got $36 mil guaranteed there would be rioting in the streets. Yet here we have a guy who is much older than any draft pick, offers less team control than the typical prospect, and played in a league that most people consider equivalent of A+

    Comment by Ronin — February 13, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  65. Like Chone Figgins?

    Comment by BX — February 13, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  66. to be fair, that happens to most players.

    Manny Ramirez, anybody (even before the PED stuff happened)?

    Comment by BX — February 13, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  67. If I had a quarter for every guy with 25-30 HR potential that washed put I would have $36 million dollars.

    Comment by Ronin — February 13, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  68. sosa was fun and generous when things were going well for him. 2 things changed that: 1) he got hit in the head with a pitch, after which in my opinion he was never the same hitter – his stance was barely in the same time zone as the plate, and 2) they found the cork in his bat. Cheating will have a way of changing people’s opinions of you, and when you can’t hit like you used to when you were cheating, you don’t feel like fun and generosity. Nothing unfair about that, he made his own image problems.

    Comment by shel — February 13, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

  69. Great point. From a purely fan perspective I care less how much teams pay for players, after all money does grow on trees when you are MLB team. Having such an interesting story line to follow as an A’s fan would be really cool. Thankfuly I live in Michigan so I have the “Prince Fielder worst signing ever” story line to follow. From a GM stand point I like the Fielder deal a whole lot more than Cespedes because I would rather take a chance on a guy that has shown all-star ability than a guy who might have all-star ability regardless of the difference in dollars. Fielder is a mortgage, when you sign a mortgage you know you are overpaying in the long run but you still get a house out of the deal. Cespedes is a lotto ticket it might pay off way more than the investment but the most likely scenario is that you wind up with a worthless piece of paper.

    Comment by Ronin — February 13, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  70. I’m an A’s fan and have honestly been blown away by what Beane has been able to accomplish this offseason. He completely rebuilt the farm system, taking it from bottom 5 to top 10, while simultaneously making the MLB squad better. That would be really hard to do even for the richest teams in the sport.

    Mid-2011 was a low point for A’s fans, but just a few months later there is so much to be optimistic about. This team is unlikely to win any AL West pennants in the near future with those two juggernauts in the division, but they are going to surprise people over the next couple of years.

    Comment by Matt — February 13, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  71. It’s also the case when folks play economist and use cost and value interchangeably.

    The cost of a win on the FA market was ~4.5mil; that should not be confused with the value of a win (but that happens all the time).

    The value of a win in baseball (if you don’t subscribe to the marginal win theory) is total payroll/total WAR which is certainly not 4.5mil given the # of wins baseball gets out of league min and arbitration players.

    Comment by Tom — February 13, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

  72. The Oakland Athletics are fantastic at finding and developing good hitters, so this deal is sure to be another winner for Billy Beane. …maybe they’ll make another movie about him.

    Comment by Jason — February 13, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

  73. Beane Ball

    Comment by Colin — February 13, 2012 @ 7:44 pm

  74. The Tigers have Mig-Cab + Prince in the lineup and its Delmon youre trying to DH?


    Comment by PL — February 13, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  75. Sammy was a complete fraud from day one

    Comment by Nick in ATL — February 13, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

  76. I think Crisp is the odd man out here, and the Nats seemed interested before the A’s offered him more money (funny how that keeps happening). Seems like a match.

    Grant Green + Crisp for Rendon & Lannan sound fair for both teams? Crisp > Lannan and Rendon > Green but Rendon doesnt have place in WSN and neither does Green now. Maybe the A’s add Fuentes and cash too?

    Comment by PL — February 13, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

  77. Michael Taylor, Coco Crisp & Grant Green for Anthony Rendon & John Lannan. Fair for both sides? Looks like it to me. Nats get an influx of OF and a true short term CF in Crisp & a long term one in Green, Taylor is a solid LF option, Rendon has no future in WSN because he’s a 3B, the A’s could use a placeholder SP like Lannan.

    Comment by PL — February 13, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  78. TD, i knew someone was gonna say that. obviously .300 hitters dont grow on trees, but the A’s could use their surplus pitching to help develop a few. I guess the point im trying to make is that it seems like the A’s always sign players that seem like finishing touches to a lineup that doesnt exist. You can’t just sign matt holliday or yoenis cespedes and expect youre lineup to suddenly be good when your lineup is and has been awful for 5+ years now. The A’s, bless them, managed to sign a bunch of hitters for good prices, but none of these hitters are proven, and most of them will be swallowed up by the coliseum.

    Comment by hmk — February 13, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  79. Thanks for your, I’m sure, spot on understanding of the inner workings of this guy’s mind.
    I mean…you saw a couple videos, and read a few articles, Of course you know he’s a headache.

    This is the definition of sour grapes, dude.

    Comment by KDL — February 13, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

  80. Green is unlikely to be a CF in the majors, even for a team that has played Bernadina and Coghlan there. Taylor is a longshot to ever be a regular.
    I can’t see the Nats giving up Rendon even for a better package. They’ll make him a 2B, make Zimmerman a 1B, do whatever is needed to put them both on the field for 2013 and beyond.

    Comment by Cookierojas16 — February 13, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

  81. Regarding the A’s outfield log jam, please swap the name Chris Carter for Brandon Allen. I know it’s confusing because there’s just so darn many OF/1B/DH prospects floating around the system. But Carter is just barely a first baseman and will most likely end up a DH. Allen can actually handle 1B and has spent some amount of time in left field.

    Also still deserving a shot somewhere: Jermaine Mitchell. He’s getting really old (age 27) but put together a very nice 2011 season and is deserving of a look. Though that sure aint happening in Oakland anytime soon.

    Comment by Mac — February 13, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  82. I think it’s obvious that certain teams are having trouble attracting certain positions in the free agency market. Texas was having trouble signing a free agent pitcher (ala Cliff Lee), even to a big deal, because some players know the home park will affect their stats and possibly next contract value. So Texas goes and get Darvish, who had much less say in where he was going.

    Oakland appears to be in a similar situation for free agent hitters, so they go outside the normal free agent pool for a free agent hitter from outside the “system”.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — February 13, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  83. If Taylor is a solid LF option why did Beane acquire…

    Crisp, Cespedes, Cowgill, Reddick, Gomes, Smith this offseason?

    I get that Crisp is potentially expendable now and he probably did not foresee picking up Cespedes, but if Taylor is a legit option why all the other OF’rs this offseason?

    Seems like a poor deal for Washington; while Lannan’s not much I wouldn’t even do those 3 names for Rendon.alone.

    Comment by Tom — February 13, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

  84. because it was done really badly… if it didn’t suck, it would get + votes

    Comment by jim — February 13, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

  85. you were going to take cespedes with the first overall pick in NL-only? what the hell is wrong with you?

    Comment by jim — February 13, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

  86. “However, if the A’s would try to get a few guys who could hit .300, and maybe pop 15-20 hr, they could see some success.”

    so, like a shittier version of matt holliday?

    Comment by jim — February 13, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

  87. why would the nationals trade rendon before he’s done anything in professional ball?

    Comment by jim — February 13, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  88. may seem that way to you, but seriously, no. I was posting over at Chicago Trib and MLBTradeRumors over the weekend, suggesting we should steer clear. And it doesn’t take a week of psychoanalsysis to look at a guy’s words and body language and tell something about his character. Coupled with him falling on his face in the winter league, there is clearly more hype here than substance. Kudos to his agent.

    Comment by shel — February 13, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  89. Rendon? For Crisp?

    I hate it when I eat troll bait. Tastes leathery.

    Comment by ToddM — February 13, 2012 @ 10:14 pm

  90. ‘Cause Beane is talking to Ari Fletcher.

    Comment by Phrozen — February 13, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  91. i was born in 1982, so i became a baseball fan when power numbers were down. i remember when cecil fielder hit his 50th (and 51st) HR it was a huge accomplishment. Nobody else was hitting even that many homers. A few years later this douche beats Maris’ mark 3 times in a row…. Screw him and his corked bats, do we really believe he wasn’t using PEDs as well? O yea and now he’s white for some reason. fantastic fellow that slammin sammy is. i think all the crap his image has become is not only fair, its karma at its best.

    Comment by Melkman — February 13, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  92. It’s fortunate you have the ability to discern the inner character of a young man new to our country and culture from some brief video, are you an FBI profiler perchance?

    Comment by ValueArb — February 14, 2012 @ 12:29 am

  93. To be fair, wasn’t it just as douchy for Maris to steal Ruth’s record by plaing 8 extra games during a watered down expansion year?

    I’m pretty sure you meant the eternal record belongs in the years of Ruth, where honest whities ever corked a bat, or threw a spitter.

    Comment by ValueArb — February 14, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  94. [laughs] Why?

    Comment by Chris Farley — February 14, 2012 @ 1:08 am

  95. Surplus pitching? They have Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy, Braden/Anderson coming off injuries and a bunch of unproven prospects – their pitching is deep and has potential, but I don’t know that is has a ton of trade value or that theyd want to get rid of a future strength.

    I think the Cespedes signing a) brings some much needed buzz b) is a gamble on a potential star – this team isnt going to get traditional stars through free agency, so they have to play a sort of lottery (See the michael ynoa signing – a 16 year old). Billy Beane has basically said as much – with the current payroll you gotta play the lottery – not high odds of winning, but you gotta at least play to have a chance.

    Comment by TD — February 14, 2012 @ 1:25 am

  96. If I had a gun with 3 bullets, and was in a room with Toby, Bin Ladin, Hitler, and this comment, I would shoot this comment 3 times.

    Comment by Michael Scott — February 14, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  97. “Are you sayin Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?”

    Comment by bstar — February 14, 2012 @ 4:39 am

  98. Several questions.
    1) How sure are we that he’s 26?
    2) How sure are we that he’s not using PEDs?
    3) If he’s so awesome, then why at 26 (prime) is his best year “mashing” Cuban pitching that is most comparable to high A or AA at best?

    I just don’t understand the hype at ALL. The fact that the Marlins wanted him should tell you he was a bad investment. I mean, they made the mistakes of giving a lot of money to A, a closer, B, a mid 30s SP, and C, a late 20s speed guy with a history of injuries. Giving a lot of money to a supposedly 26, supposedly clean, and even if he is both of those, he’s still freakin 26 and has only hit a high A equivalent.

    The only think I can think Beane was doing is gambling on Cespedes playing really well at first and then within a year and half swindling some poor bastard for their farm.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — February 14, 2012 @ 5:34 am

  99. 1. HA. Great question and not sure at all is the answer. Have people looked at Davenport’s translation page? Many of the batters do not have ages listed, but if you change to view pitchers check out how many guys are 25 years old. It’s uncanny (Maybe Davenport used 25 as a default age?). Obviously something is fishy with Cuban ages, and I don’t think that’s all that surprising. So I would tack on a year at least, especially if I’m a MLB club considering signing the guy.

    Comment by MustBunique — February 14, 2012 @ 8:09 am

  100. 1. Pretty sure. His mother was an Olympic softball player for Cuba, who had him at the age of 17. This seems pretty easy to verify She also defected, so you can test whether she really is his mother.
    2. About as sure as we are with any other player?
    3. Cos they don’t have MLB in Cuba? Anyone who put up that sort of line in high-A or AA would be expected to thrive at a higher level. I don’t really understand your question here – obviously, he’s destroyed the best pitching that’s been put in front of him, and done so at a rate that suggests he has potential to do well at a significantly higher level than Cuban ball. The rest is really down to scouting for me.

    Do a thought experiment. Imagine Barry Bonds had grown up in Cuba and managed to defect at age 26. You would be saying that he’s a waste of time because he’s only ever managed to beat up on high-A standard pitching. I’m pretty sure he would have figured out big league pitching pretty quickly. [Not a comparison between Cespedes and Bonds]

    Comment by Simon — February 14, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  101. The problem with Cuban ages is that the Cuban Government is not all that keen on providing the necessary data to US baseball bloggers. That means Davenport and others just don’t know how old some players are. For others, the data is there, if they play in international tournaments or whatever.

    There isn’t the same incentive to falsify ages as there is in the Dominican Republic – there are not a load of Cuban kids doing whatever they need to do to get a deal with an MLB club and as large a bonus as possible. Cespedes would have had to falsify his age years in advance in case he defected one day, which seems somewhat bizarre. Also, the difference between a 26 and 27 year old in value terms is not nearly as huge as it is between a 17 and 18 year old, due to different positions on the aging curve.

    Comment by Simon — February 14, 2012 @ 9:35 am

  102. I could see Crisp going to the Nats but I don’t think he can be traded before mid-season as a recently signed FA. But yeah, Crisp for Lannan isn’t an awful thought.

    Comment by Spike — February 14, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  103. Cheating will have a way of changing people’s opinions of you, and when you can’t hit like you used to when you were cheating, you don’t feel like fun and generosity.

    I live in North Central Illinois, which is basically cardinal Fan Hell (CFH), and Sammy’s popularity was at its height at the same time as his cheating peak.

    No one in baseball, including Cub fans, thought Sammy hit 60+ HR 3 seasons without cheating. Cardinal fans also realized McG’s 70 HR season was not clean either (to be fair).

    Sosa was beloved in Chicago. It was genuine love IMO. But, even good marriages start to break down when things are going poorly for both involved.

    For God sakes, The Colts and Peyton manning aren’t getting along.

    Most humans I know are more friendly and fun when things are going well for them. Most businesses are a blast to work for when the company is experiencing a lot of success. Just the opposite happens when there’s lesser performance. You can work with your best friends, but when the business starts downsizing their becomes a change in the relationships. All of the sudden good friends start pointing out each other’s flaws in regards to who is to blame and who should keep their job.

    It’s a human situation, not a Chicago Cub situation. But make no mistake whether Sammy wass fake or the fans were fickle, Sammy was as popular and as loved as any Cub has ever been at his peak. I would posit he was more revered than Hawk, and even Jooooh-dee Jody Davis. Things broke down at the end by both Sammy and the fans, but Sammy was King Poop on Turd Island for almost a decade in Chicago.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 14, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  104. Yeah, Tom!
    Believe it or not, I was thinking of making a similar comment on Swartz’s article, but I decided to wait to see where he is going in the rest of his series.

    Comment by Baltar — February 14, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

  105. If Billy Beane has been doing something brilliant since his success in getting ahead of the curve on the OBP thing, it doesn’t show in the standings and it certainly doesn’t pass the smell test.
    If there’s an underlying genius in loading up on OF-1B-DH slugger types while trading away good pitchers with a defense-friendly home park, it escapes me.
    Until and unless I see evidence to the contrary, I believe he is just skating on his one big success.

    Comment by Baltar — February 14, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  106. But Matt, whose fault was it that the farm was in the bottom 5 in the first place? He’s been the GM now for over a decade, so everything on that team is 100% of his making. Even though they do have a limited budget, they haven’t been above .500 since 2006. This off-season he has done well, but you can’t ignore the fact that the A’s have been less than spectacular for several years now.

    Comment by Greg — February 14, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  107. Except for the whole Oakland. Thing. And. All.

    Comment by Buck — February 14, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

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