We weren’t expecting this: Tim Brown of Yahoo! reports that Yoenis Cespedes is on the verge of signing with the Oakland Athletics. Susan Slusser added that the deal will be for four years, $36 million.
That’s a bit lower than anyone thought he’d get. Is it possible that his short, lackluster stint in winter ball hurt him? Maybe it’s more possible that everyone calmed down a bit and realized that a 26 year-old — hopefully — Cuban player is not necessarily a sure thing no matter how flashy his workout videos and short-season statistics were. Especially if he’s a corner outfielder long-term and not a center fielder. Which looks very likely to be the case.
Still, it’s not like $36 million is cheap for the A’s, who have traded just about everyone who makes more money than Peter Brand. But when you have no stud hitters in your system and no ability to sign one on the free agent market, you have to take a chance like this. Because while he’s no sure thing, if Cespedes performs at the top end of his expectations, he will be a bargain.
In other news: how freaking interesting has the winter been for the AL West?
UPDATE: Turns out that Cespedes will be eligible for free agency after the four year deal. My initial impression was that the contract would run for four years and then he’d still be under team control and subject to arbitration for two additional years. With that not being the case, this is a way better deal for Cespedes than I first assumed.
It also may explain why he went to the A’s and not some more of the usual suspects. Rosenthal reports that Cespedes’ agent was trying to get either a ten-year deal out of teams — which no one was willing to do — or to get a four-year deal with free agency at the end. Other teams, such as the Marlins, wanted him under control for five or six years. The A’s, in short, were willing to do what no one else would.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.