Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes signs with the Oakland A's
Cespedes is one of the most highly-regarded Cuban defectors in years. A 26-year-old outfielder, Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in just 90 games last season in Cuba. Cespedes has also destroyed pitching in international competition, including hitting .458 with three triples and two home runs in six games in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Cespedes is considered a center fielder, and has all five major tools--ability to hit for average, hit for power, run, field and throw.
Last summer Cespedes left Cuba for the Dominican Republic to pursue a Major League Baseball Career.
By joining the A's, Cespedes is latching on to a team that is not expected to have a great season. Oakland, which had one of the worst offenses in the big leagues in 2011, traded two of their top pitchers, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill, as well as closer Andrew Bailey this summer.
Thanks in large part to their new manager Ozzie Guillen, the Miami Marlins had been seen as the favorites to sign Cespedes, but to Oakland he went instead. The Marlins reportedly offered Cespedes $36 million over six seasons.
Cespedes' deal with the A's will pay him $6.5 million in 2012, $8.5 million in 2013 and $10.5 million in 2014 and 2015, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The deal also makes Cespedes the highest-paid player on the Athletics. Coco Crisp is to make $6 million this season as the A's second-highest-paid player.
Cespedes could compete for playing time immediately in Oakland, but there is a chance he begins his career with a short stint in the minors.