Yoenis Cespedes, Elite Talent and $/WAR

Even before the theatrical release of Moneyball, Billy Beane‘s actions as Athletics general manager were beginning to come under the microscope more often. This is just what happens to a general manager when his team doesn’t win, and Beane’s hasn’t reached the playoffs (nor sported a winning record) since the 2006 season. Now, the microscope falls upon his latest move: the signing of Cuban wunderkind Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36 million deal, even with a full outfield of Seth Smith, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Collin Cowgill and Jonny Gomes in tow. Although there are plenty of risks with the signing of a player like Cespedes, marginalizing players like Smith (much less Gomes or Cowgill) is not high on the list. Not when the Athletics so desperately need elite talent.

The post-2006 Athletics have been defined by a severe lack of elite talent, particularly on the position player side. Only nine position players have even reached 4.0 WAR overall since 2007, and only one player has posted a 5 WAR season in that stretch:

We talk a lot about winning on a budget here at FanGraphs — the concept of “$/WAR” is a big one, and especially when we talk about the Oakland Athletics, a team that has a restrictive budget due to a bad stadium and a less-than-ideal revenue stream. The A’s — and the Rays and other small-market teams — need to have a low $/WAR to win, not because $/WAR is the end-all be-all of baseball franchises but because there’s a strict upper limit on the “$” part of the expression.

The “WAR” part — which, ideally, means real wins — has to come from somewhere, and that’s where the need for elite talent comes from. Even in their down years, the Athletics have done a fine job of producing good, affordable pitching — Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, Trevor Cahill, Dan Haren, and Brett Anderson are (or were) all solid pitchers when healthy. They’ve also done an admirable job of getting something out of cheap players like Mark Ellis and Ryan Sweeney and Cliff Pennington. Without the elite talent to buttress the team, though, the A’s have just been adding a bunch of spare parts into 70-win teams.

Seth Smith would be a fine piece on many teams. A team can make the playoffs with him as the seventh or eighth best position player if they have an Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, or Matt Kemp type (or two) around as well. He’s a good bargain. The Athletics didn’t have to give up much to get him.

But the Athletics desperately need a star. The easiest way (at least mathematically) to get that $/WAR down is by increasing the “WAR” part, and it takes elite talent to make the kind of dent the A’s need to get back to respectability. Here’s where Yoenis Cespedes comes in. There’s uncertainty, there’s risk, but there’s also extreme potential. Kevin Goldstein called him the 20th-best prospect in the game today, and he has the tools to become an elite outfielder. The A’s had to take a risk on Cespedes — he’s the only free agent talent of his kind they can afford to bring into the organization.

The A’s still need more beyond Cespedes to compete with teams like the Rangers and Angels. He may turn out to bust, or he may turn out to be average. But the Athletics rarely get a chance to infuse their organization with talent unless it’s through the draft or unless they have to give away talent of their own. This time, they jumped, and if that means Seth Smith is relegated to the bench and the outfield is crowded for a few years, so be it.

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Jack Moore's work can be seen at VICE Sports and anywhere else you're willing to pay him to write. Buy his e-book.

49 Responses to “Yoenis Cespedes, Elite Talent and $/WAR”

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  1. Phils_Goodman says:


    Keith Law said that Cespedes only needs to be an average player for the A’s to break even on $/WAR, but that’s missing the bigger point. If they ever want to get into the 40-50 WAR range on their payroll, the A’s have to do a lot more than “break even.”

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  2. joe torre says:

    lets see… i had matt kemp in 2008… he did 18HR and 35 SB from 2 hole, 7 hole and 6 hole… i blew the arms of broxton, kuo and used billingsly from the pen to open the season… i am the greatest manager of all time!

    CES in better than kemp in 2008. but i think he will do easy 20/20 w. a 275 avg. hes not lazy like BJ

    i am a big bad manager and only won 1 WS in the 2000s.

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  3. CS Yankee says:

    Beane cries hardship and takes the cause public on relocating to San Jose while trading almost every single arm for unproven mid-level talent. Then takes the rent money and goes to Vegas and gambles on YoCesp after he gets extended.

    He is the most unique, most secure GM in the game.

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    • Pat says:

      Yeah, I would be pissedvif my team never spent money then blew a ton of it on a novelty player like Cespedes. 4 year contract without a NTC and he probably needs minor league seasoning, how does that make any sense?

      Beane set himself up for life with his success earlier and can now just do whatever he wants, and it shows. He’s made some good moves, but still a TON of head scratchers over the past few years and a whole lot of random moves that don’t add up.

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      • Jon says:

        Billy Beane: THE most polarizing, mis-read, mis-quoted, mis-understood, overly dissed for the very things he HAS TO DO (still waiting for folks to stop blaming the victim, maybe one day, eh) GM in sports.

        No. It was simply a case where you had Beane and a team fighting an unfair system (i’ll wait until you guys finish yawning) seeing their chance at what otherwise they could never get due to the system and their never finishing low enough to get top 1-3 draft picks like the Rays and Marlins did when they overcame this unfair system.

        The A’s tried to get Berkman and Beltre last year, hard. Had the right idea and if they had that bit of extra money or the nice yard, would have gotten those two productive players. Gave solid offers but both turned them down. That is a theme. And we all know why they turned the A’s down, which is not Beane’s fault, if anything he’s taking it from Joe’s like you two (and millions more) due to his loyalty and interest in helping this engine that could go again for real some day.

        Sure, blame Beane for little O, he hasn’t drafted much help there, yes. But you could pick 7 year stretches of that for many teams. Meanwhile he has gotten the pitching, which made the trades of Cahill (good, not that good) and Gio (high walk rate always nag him likely) reasonable particularly factoring, come on now, what you have to admit is a truly shut window with the Angels and Rangers situations.

        But back to the response. Beane cries hardship because there is hardship. He had some money due to last years big buck efforts falling short and hey, this is the only, or one of few, real ways these days for the A’s to get someone with YC’s upside. You guys seem oblivious to the fact of this.

        Also, you have to spend a certain amount anyway due to rev sharing.

        Also, he clearly did the earlier moves without this in mind, thinking, rightfully so, that he had little chance at YC. So it made sense to get the other OFs he got, just changed gears when the opp came along.

        What is so hard for you guys (and you do represent soooo many who simply do not get the whole Beane thing and overly, blindly diss) to understand here? Why the quick instinct to jump on Beane?

        A reminder. He has always played in the tougher by far league. Versus the biggest payrolls in MLB. Everyone, when they’re not talking about the A’s in the early 00′s, admits and openly calls the playoffs a crapshot.

        Yet, like clockwork on anything putting Beane in a positive light, there you are, ripping away.

        It really exposes something about you guys more than anything else, although it is sad and maddening for the rest of us, as it exposes how much of the human population mis-thinks things and turns to unfounded mass criticism based on ? to rationalize their irrational viewpoint.

        Again, please, learn how you are so often in Beane bashings blaming the victim, it’s ugly. (And YES, ok, Beane isn’t perfect or close to it. He would tell you that too, honestly, while of course you would think/assume he’s just saying that but really full of himself, which of course you want that confidence in your GM, and on and on…)

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      • Kyle K. says:

        The fact that the contract doesn’t have an NTC is a GOOD thing for the A’s, you dolt.

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      • cable fixer says:

        While I agree with 80% of your criticism and that this signing isn’t “bad”…

        1. “Sure, blame Beane for little O, he hasn’t drafted much help there, yes. But you could pick 7 year stretches of that for many teams.”

        Let’s quantify this. The best hitter the Oakland system has produced in the past decade is…Jemile Weeks? This is a problem. As you correctly point out, many teams have decade stretches like that…but they also generally don’t retain their GM. IMO, consistent mediocrity is potentially worse than being laughably bad for a stretch but that is, of course, debatable.

        2. You act like Oakland is the only team players scorn in free agency. Other GMs have found unique ways of trying to acquire elite talent.
        # 1st/Supplementary Rd Draft Picks in 2011:
        Tampa: 10
        Toronto: 5
        Oakland: 1

        #1st/Supp Rd Draft Picks in 2010:
        Tampa: 3
        Toronto: 4
        Oakland: 1

        The thing is, Beane can’t really cry draft poor like in the past. Oakland’s draft budget would seem to be no worse than average based on overslot bonuses given from 08-10.

        3. The window for any team with talent is never truly shut. Two years ago Brandon Wood and Kendrys Morales were going to be stars at the CI spots for Anaheim. Then, weren’t the Angels on the verge of salary bloated irrelevance this offseason? While it’s unpredictable, this sort of landscape shift plays out constantly and at a high velocity. As a result, IMO, it’s beyond difficult and also foolish to overly concern oneself with one’s window at the cost of giving up talent for potential.

        I’m not saying Beane is a bad GM–he isn’t. But acting like his decision making isn’t above reproach is silly too.

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      • DrBGiantsfan says:

        Maybe you meant to say the Cespedes contract has a no-arbitration clause which means he’s a FA after the 4 years instead of having 2 arbitration years left. The lack of an NTC is good for the A’s.

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      • Jon says:


        1. Believe me, as an A’s fan, I hear you regarding Beane’s trackrecord with hitters (i think it relates to his not having the right mindset to be a good MLB hitter. There’s something about the animal that is a good MLB hitter that he doesn’t sense, see…but that last part is getting out there, just my opinion.)

        However, this is not cause for any Beane firing since he does get pitching consistently. He has built some cred that makes his failures/bad luck with hitters acceptable, especially considering all that goes along with being a Ray, old Marlin, A, old Twin, etc.

        It seems you should kind of see that, so what are you saying? It comes off as going further than with others to point out Beane’s failures. I think that comes from a distaste folks have for the hype that went to Beane. And hey, most A’s fans while proud of the whole Moneyball thing, have mixed feelings as to whether we wished it had ever got all this attention in the first place. Mixed indeed.

        2. No, you hear/read as if i think the A’s are the only team scorned due to similar circumstances.

        Again, this seems to expose a mission to expose Beane moreso than others. Again, i feel this is due to the hype he’s gotten which while yes, a bit much, overly gets non A’s fans or appreciators into doing what you’re doing, seeing A’s/Beane hype where it’s not.

        3. Come on now. The Rangers have been in the WS the last two years, lost some but added some and are still primed to be very very good, with an even higher rated farm system, great management in Daniels and Ryan in place….while well the Angels just got the best hitter of our generation and a great SP onto an already pretty good team.

        Also, go back and read my last paragraph. I put the parts about his not being perfect in there on purpose, he’s not perfect, most A’s fans know that…along with his misses on O (i could reel off names he’s messed up on in many ways, but remember, part of that activity works out, part of it is due to being a pro-active GM, which most would like and part of it is due to having to trade when everyone knows you do, which is due to the system..and yes, the last couple of big trades he traded before “he had to.)”

        Beane did not feel, at the time, that the book, the idea, the whole “Moneyball thing” would do what it did. Perhaps naive in retrospect, but he is afterall, only a baseball man (with outside interests.) How this both gets the obvious “traditional baseball men” and “traditional fan” riled up is not his fault, and takes away from nothing.

        Again, not perfect, just the most polarizing, mis-read, mis-quoted and mis-understood GM.

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    • Tim says:

      Did Kenny Williams get fired today?

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  4. cable fixer says:

    I think Mr Beane is trying too hard to “time” being good again, which might be a fool’s errand. The problem with that approach–as was mentioned in the podcast yesterday–is that Billy Beane is a decent GM, and the draft picks he’s getting as a consequence of winning 70-80 games make it tougher for him to find elite talent. In other words, it’s much easier to be laughingly bad for 5 years and stockpile top 5 draft talent (and no, that approach doesn’t work all the time either) than it is to try to score in the draft in picks 12-18 every year.

    The other point in this is…do we trust Billy Beane the hitting talent evaluator anymore? The Holliday move was questionable when it was made and looks even worse in retrospect. Ok, maybe Cargo doesn’t develop into a 5-6 WAR player in Oakland, but as a 4 WAR player in his walk year, I bet he fetches more than brett wallace/michael taylor. Green and Choice are nice prospects, but despite being overslot signings, they aren’t elite (yet), and while Parker is an appropriate get for Cahill, note that in his final year as a prospect, he actually ended up lower on Klaw’s list than Cahill did in his last year of eligibilty…


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    • GUY says:

      Agree with most of this except the bit about Green/Choice.
      Green, IMO, is only considered a decent prospect anymore because of where he was drafted. At this point, he’s no better than a middling B-/C+ prospect drafted in the middle rounds. Can’t take a walk, no plus power, and benefited from high BABIP in a down year last year.
      Choice, OTOH, I think he’s pretty damn close to elite. If he continues his performance in Midland this year, he’s gonna be a top 25 prospect this time next year.

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      • Jon says:

        Couldn’t agree more on Green, Guy. What folks see in him baffles me, particularly factoring in the move to the OF.

        I would like to think Beane’s been calmly, subtly getting a feel for any trade interest in Green, perhaps as soon as the good game he had at the i believe it was AA All-Star game. Once he had to move from SS, that was it.

        And yes, we agree on Choice too…fingers crossed on that guy, Guy.

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  5. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    Why would Seth Smith be out of a starting spot?
    Smith in LF, Crisp in CF and Cespedes in RF seems like the best team to me.
    For a team that isn’t going to contend regardless, I guess it makes more sense to play the younger cheaper Reddick and see if he can continue to develop.

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    • Matt says:

      I imagine Seth Smith would platoon with Jonny Gomes; these guys scream platoon. So let’s not assume Smith will be a regular because he won’t. Not with that .217 / .272 / .304 line vs lefties. He hammered righties last year to the tune of .299 / .365 / .526 which was only marginally Coors Field aided. Gomes certainly hit lefties pretty well: .311 – .407 – .456. So, assume a platoon.

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    • Jack Moore says:

      I’m assuming (and from what I read in the SF Chronicle this will be the case) the A’s will probably run a lineup of Reddick in LF, Cespedes in CF and Crisp in RF.

      That’s also how I would work it, personally.

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      • Jon says:

        Switch Crisp and Reddick and i’m with you there, if Crisp doesn’t stay in CF and YC play RF. Coco’s noodle more suited for LF.

        But a Smith/Gomes platoon could be pretty good. Reddick more valuable long term though, so yeah..

        Beane will probably use ST to see about the usual injuries and if the A’s get through healthy will trade somebody right before the season or early on.

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      • James says:

        But why get Smith & Gomes, then? Unless plan is to flip one/both?

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      • I suppose there’s also the possibility that Smith/Gomes get time at 1B/DH. Daric Barton has to have a short leash, and Brandon Allen, Kila Ka’aihue and maybe Michael Taylor will be hanging around those positions, but I can see a Smith-Gomes platoon working out as the better option for DH than any one of those options.

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      • Jon says:

        James. Beane didn’t know Cespedes would be available, and he rightfully already procured a solid, cheap, short term platoon in Smith/Gomes. Well, things happen.

        You’ve got to remain flexible, always weighing the whole, particularly when you’re the poor.

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  6. On the presumption the A’s made a good move, consider the hill Cespedes has to climb. I’ve looked at film on him and he may be a 6 year player, but he’s far from finished. He hasn’t faced as far as I could see a single MLB quality pitcher, or very few. He loves FBs and Cuban umps apparently have a disdain for calling breaking balls strikes. I don’t think he even knows from experience what a cut fastball or back foot slider is. This is the part of the exercise where the numbers abandon you. The A’s coaching staff have an uphill climb with what is rumored to be a hardhead on their hands. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes the roster coming out of ST or ends up in Sacramento with the Rivercats. It’s too early to tell whether he’s Jason Heyward or John Bowker. One thing for sure, it’ll be interesting.

    How about some words of wisdom on Jose Abreu, the next big thing coming out of Cuba?

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    • Scott says:

      I keep on hearing “he can’t hit a breaking ball, so he sucks.” A lot of quality MLB hitters can’t hit the breaking ball. As long as he has good contact ability he’ll do what a lot of hitters do and foul off breaking balls until he gets a fastball or a hanging breaking ball and crush it.

      A $9 million a year player is going to have flaws, but based on what I’ve seen, dude can hit and has some glove.

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    • I don’t think anyone who has two eyes could possibly come to the conclusion Cespedes sucks. That’s a foolish conclusion. My point is, in a 4 year contract, A’s fans, who are notoriously hungry for a winner, don’t have a lot of patience, espeially after the way Wolff/Fisher has damaged and abused a fiercely loyal fanbase. Cespedes own ego, if you believe the Miami media, is not trivial. It’s just there seems to me to be a mismatch in expectation between the player and his perception of his skills and the fans and their expectation of Cespedes performance. That’s a proscription for failure if not managed correctly, especially in Oakland.

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      • GUY says:

        I think this is the biggest issue some fans have with Beane right now. The guy has no patience and therefore us A’s fans get false hope literally every single year.
        It’s exhausting. The man refuses to buy all in on a rebuild and therefore the rebuild never happens.

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      • Guy, I have to tell you, as a Giants fan admittedly, the shenanigans going on on with the A’s are not only unfair to a loyal, and sometimes crazy fanbase, it’s bad for baseball in general. God knows there are enough McCourts and Wilpons out there without this A’s foolishness.

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  7. KKSC says:

    I wonder what effect defense has on a team, rather than as an individual in respect for WAR.

    Here’s an example:

    Let’s say, a team has Jacoby Ellsbury in CF, and let’s assume that for arguments sake he’s the best defensive CF in the league.

    Now, would a team benefit more by having Matt Holliday in LF, Brett Gardner, or would they theoretically bring their respective teams the same number of wins?

    I chose these two because their WAR’s are virtually the same (5.1 vs. 5.0) but their value stems from two different aspects of their game. Holliday’s is obviously offensive, posting a .912 OPS to Gardner’s .712. However, Gardner’s UZR was 25.2, vs. Holliday’s 0.8.

    Now, WAR would assume that these two players would have a similar impact on a team. But with Ellsbury in CF, is Gardner’s defense needed, and just as important as Holliday’s bat? I would think not, and such is why I don’t neccesary like $/WAR, because it doesn’t necessarily take into account of other players on the team.

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    • Jon says:

      Is it obvious that the value of defense is dependent on the other players on your team? You raise an interesting point, but it seems to hinge on the claim that, for example, having an elite CF changes the value of LF defense. In the OF, I could believe it if you showed me some data. The plausibility argument is that an elite CF allows your corner OFs to player closer to the line, perhaps masking their lack of range slightly. However, at other positions I find this a little hard to believe. For instance, no matter how much range your SS has, he’s not getting balls in the 2B’s zone, so his great defense can’t help the 2B in any way.

      Has anyone ever seen a study of this issue? You could approach it either as some sort of higher-order version of zone ratings or approach it as some sort of win-curve analysis that shows the marginal value of defense doesn’t stay constant as the overall quality of defense changes.

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      • KKSC says:

        My argument would essentially be that the defense of up-the-middle players impacts that of corner players. You’re right in that SS wouldn’t affect 2B, but I believe SS would affect 3B, and 2B would affect 1B (however, I believe the impact would be greater in the outfield, as there is a greater reaction time)

        I have nor the background, or ability to present any data unfortunately. If someone knew how to (dis)prove it, that’d be great, but I can’t really do any of it myself. I can make educated hypothesis’, but that’s it.

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  8. kid says:

    The author said it well. Oakland and TB can’t afford to play FA bonanza with the rich teams, so they have to try and acquire difference-making hitters in unconventional ways.

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  9. Antonio Bananas says:

    So let’s start asking the next logical question. If Cespedes proves to be valuable, who does Beane flip him to in 2013 or 2014?

    My Bravos could use an outfielder, but I don’t think they’d be dumb enough to take him despite the fact that they have what Beane loves to stock up on. Maybe he trades him to the fish who, once they realize “shit Buehrle was old, Bell is only a closer, and Reyes is hurt…again” will trade for him.

    It’s surreal that the As made this move. I just don’t see Beane legitimately thinking he will last. I don’t believe he does think he’ll last. I think Beane waits until his value is at it’s highest and when the market is super thirsty and then gets a prospect package of and A level SP or bat along with 2-3 young, raw prospects. My guess is July 2014 to the Marlins.

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    • Jon says:

      Antonio. As a Braves fan, across the country and in a different, ahem, league, i can understand why the general perception of Beane is he’s a wildman who throws caution to the wind, trade happy, etc.

      But, you do realize there is this issue of a new ballpark in San Jose for the A’s that’s coming up soon (well, really should be, likely is,) right?

      It always feels to me, and you can’t blame most fans of other teams, particularly say a Braves fan, for not understanding the A’s issues…but it always seems folks have gotten the wrong impression of WHY Beane either makes a pre-emptive early trade (i.e. before a guy’s up for free agency,) or one related to choosing maybe one out of a few he can afford to keep, forced to trade the others (while the vultures circle, knowing all this.) So many of these factors and others have aided in making Beane look bad in situations he really had little choice (which is why i feel there is, not with you here necessarily Antonio, a blaming the victim thing with Beane, the A’s and similar teams. And don’t take the word victim to seriously, it’s a saying that gets the point across, i’m not saying any of these guys are a true victim.)

      It seems all the sports sources give only lip service and often thinly veiled snide lip service (i can think of more than a few pundits, espn anchors, etc) to the reasons, the big picture related to why Beane is so active, then jump on him as if there weren’t these factors, when any move doesn’t work or blows up in his face.

      Sorry Antonio, i know most of that (as in an earlier post) is inspired by only a bit of your post, but responding more to certain fans, all the posts, words, articles, reports one hears questioning, to put it nicely, Beane’s moves and motives.

      In this case, well, if the A’s get the new ballpark Beane will likely not trade YC, if he turns out for real.

      The days of taking advantage of the A’s and how the system affects them could be coming to an end soon.

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  10. DrBGiantsfan says:

    Scout 1: He’s a 5 tool player!

    Billy: Can he hit?

    Scout 2: Just take a look at his scouting video!

    Billy: He’s not even playing in any actual games!

    Scout 3: He’s a great looking ballplayer!

    Billy: We’re not selling jeans here!

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  11. Greg says:

    I find it bizarre that the same people who are calling Jon Daniels a genius for spending $112 million on an “unproven” pitcher who routinely faces hitters that couldn’t even start in shortseason A ball are calling Billy Beane a moron for spending $36 million for an “unproven” outfielder. Beane is getting an everyday player for one-third the cost of what the Rangers spent for a man who at best will play once every five games. And for all the talk of Oakland’s financial woes, they aren’t one year removed from Chapter 11 proceedings like Jon Daniels’s team.

    Even if Darvish and Cespedes had been purchased at the same cost, Darvish poses a significantly higher risk. Darvish is far more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury. He is more likely to be inconsistent and suffer from the vagaries of chance. He is more likely to become a complete basket case. In short, he is a pitcher.

    Billy Beane was able to sign a freakishly athletic, five-tool outfielder widely regarded as Cuba’s best player in a generation, keep him under a fixed salary for four seasons, and spend the same amount the Yankees paid for three years of Rafael Soriano. And he did it just before the hard cap on signing international players goes into effect.

    I like this risky, shrewd move by Billy Beane.

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    • todmod says:

      The Rangers weren’t 1 year removed from Chapter 11 – their former owner Tom Hicks was. The team was making money – and has more money making potential than the A’s. That’s an odd thing to throw in.

      I think you are dismissing the difference in quality of baseball being played between Japan and Cuba a little too easily. I actually like the Cespedes move for the A’s with the high upside, but using it to criticize the Darvish move is odd. It’s easier to translate performance from Japan to MLB than Cuba because the quality of play is higher. Much more of the Cespedes projections have to come from scouting his ability than Darvish when it comes from a much weaker league.

      Also finally, the hard cap on international signings does not and will not apply to players like Cespedes because of his age.

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      • Greg says:

        Todmod, you really need to check your facts before posting something like that. Especially when the facts could easily be ascertained with a simple Google search. The group headed by Chuck Greenberg (who later was usurped by other partners) and Nolan Ryan purchased the team through a bankruptcy trustee auction. The Texas Rangers franchise was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy from 2010 through 2011, not Tom Hicks.

        I did not write that Cespedes would be subject to the hard cap on international signings. My point is that after this year, teams, especially teams that cannot afford luxury taxes, are going to be severly limited by the hard cap imposed on international players under the age of 23. The international market is one way a franchise like the A’s can compete with Boston and the Yankees, because international players are still cheaper than players subject to the Rule 4 draft. And the new CBA is closing that window for small market teams like the A’s.

        I don’t agree with your assertion that translating NPB to MLB is easier because the level of play is so much higher. The fact that dominant NPB players (like Kaz Matsui) haven’t fared well in the Majors, while multiple career minor leaguers who couldn’t stick on a 40-man roster have dominated NPB, belies that argument. And I never argued that Darvish will flop. I merely pointed out that any pitcher is a greater risk than a positional player, and the Rangers spent $75 million more on a pitcher than the A’s spent on a positional player. The Rangers are taking a much greater risk than the A’s.

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      I’m certainly not one of those calling Jon Daniels a genius. Darvish is a huge risk and smacks of a desperation signing. That doesn’t make the Cespedes signing a smart move by Beane just because it looks good in comparison to the Darvish signing.

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    • RC says:

      “a man who at best will play once every five games.”

      This is such a silly argument. A starting pitcher faces more ABs per season than a leadoff hitter does.

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  12. KCDaveInLA says:

    Billy, isn’t your daughter all grown up now? Time to go find a better job.

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  13. I wonder when GM’s sign an IFA if they also think that a successful player in their organization may lead to a pipeline effect or a foot in the door for future negotiations.

    This seemed to be the case with the LAD and Spanish speaking players in the 80s.

    Obviously Cuban players will sign for less than standard market value and many of them are closer to MLB age than a 17yo player from the DR (age jokes aside), so if YC is very successful in OAK and he has a very positive experience, then maybe the next YC gives OAK more consideration than they normally might.

    Not that I think OAK is going to sign four 3 WAR Cubans for 8M/y or anything of the sort, I just wonder if the idea factors in.

    I think the most logical scenario is that BB wasn’t counting on YC, but landed him, and given the surplus (projected) value it was a move worth making. Had they known earlier they would sign YC, maybe they don’t make some of the moves they did.

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