Cespedes and a new ballpark

For Billy Beane, 30 is apparently the magic number.

Jason Giambi left the A’s for the Yankees after his 30th birthday as a highly prized free agent.

Miguel Tejada was not offered a potentially “insulting” deal when his arbitration years were up, allowing him to switch coasts to Baltimore. When he took the field in an Orioles uniform for the first time, he was a month shy of 30.

Assuming that Yoenis Cespedes stays with the A’s for all four years of his newly inked $36 million deal, he will be 30 years old when he becomes a free agent after the 2015 season.

With Lew Wolff’s admission that a 2016 Cisco Field opening is more likely than 2015 given the delays and necessary steps remaining, that puts Cespedes quite possibly gone from the A’s when the time comes. Or does it?

It’s really all a matter of value. If Cespedes really is the “Willie Mays of Cuba” then two things are possible. Either he’ll be too expensive to keep and he’ll be signed by a big market team to a huge deal (Pujols, Fielder), or he’ll be a strategic signing by Beane to have a marquee talent on hand for a new ballpark opening. Keep in mind that the San Jose ballpark is practically guaranteed to be more hitter-friendly than the Coliseum.

I figure that if the A’s can sign Cespedes and keep payroll below $100 million in 2016, they’ll do it if he’s performing. By that point Michael Choice should be in his arb years, as will Grant Green and most of the new young pitching talent the team has waiting in the wings. For a guide to how this might play out, look at how the Twins’ and Marlins’ payroll decisions are progressing. Both teams have committed well above $90 million before the low service time guys are signed. As cheap as many fans think the Wolff/Fisher ownership has been, ask yourself this: Are they cheaper than Jeff Loria or the late Carl Pohlad? Or Mike Ilitch during the Tiger Stadium years?

Right now 2015-16 seems so far away that’s it feels silly to project in this manner, especially the way Beane can trade guys at the drop of a hat. But we know that’s what the front office has to do, whether Cisco Field opens in 2015, 2016, or not at all. As long as we’ve stolen a slugger with real potential out from under many far richer teams, I’m taking the little victories whatever way I can get them.

23 thoughts on “Cespedes and a new ballpark

  1. If Cespedes ends up being the real deal, the A’s can’t let him go the offseason before Cisco Field opens (assuming 2016 opening) . The A’s desperately need to tie a remake of their image to the SJ move, which will be an uphill battle if they let a key free agent walk the year before the ballpark opening.

  2. Uhmmm, yeeeeaahhh. He’s actually “26″ years old.

  3. @Briggs – This is a Cuban guy we’re talking about, not a Dominican. The commies tend to keep better tabs on their citizens.

  4. I’m looking this signing as a pure baseball decision to get a good player who more represents a free agent type signing for immediate impact because of his experience (at least I hope). I can’t personally find the reason to define it as an action tied to SJ in any way as opposed to the winter trades which were geared toward player development and contract control years out. Cespedes is a 4 year deal and then free agency.

    If Cespedes is successful in MLB, then he’s got the potential for a huge contract or tremendous trade value.

    That video is “interesting”. Cuba is scenic. He can do tons of heavy weights and you’ll find out about his mom who was a Cuban Olympic softball player, but if you go to about 16 1/2 minutes in, there are some Cespedes stats.

  5. I’m just amazed the A’s got him; good news wherever we can find it indeed. Kind of see it Macs way; if he’s successful then he’s great trade bait. Or, if he’s successful you can sign him to a big contract just in time for Cisco Field’s opening in 2016. A win, win all around. (Perhaps the Willie Mays of Cuba is part of a deal with the Giants? Nahh!)

  6. Good for the A’s if he pans out. Too bad for Michael Taylor. Another guy making more money to hurdle. I hope he can hit real pitching consistently and doesn’t end up as a .225 hitter who barely drives in 70 rbi.

  7. I just watched the video above with sound. I like how they used Jay-Z to connect with the youth of today. I also like how they used Christopher Cross to connect with 13 yr old girls from 1980.

  8. As you know from my posts, I’d be the last guy to say it’s silly to project out to 2015-2016.

    I would argue that it will still make sense at that point – even if the A’s can creep into $90-100M territory – to trade healthy, productive pitchers when they reach arbitration, because the A’s have to extract maximum value and ROI from their players to be competitive.

    You trade Gio now, with four years remaining, and you get 3-4 good quality prospects. You wait two years, he blows out an elbow, etc., and you’ve gotten nothing in terms of future return on that investment. And pitchers get hurt more than hitters, so that’s why I am totally ok with this team perpetually trading Hudson/Mulder, Gio/Cahill, Parker in 2-3 years … as soon as that guy has established 2-3 years of good major league performance and health. Get maximum return on the investment while you can.

    What SHOULD change radically in 2016-2017, in my opinion, is NOT the constant churning of established major leaguers for prospects. What should change is that the team will be attractive to big-ticket FA’s on other teams, and will actually sign one or two. If they continue to trade away arb-eligible studs, their payroll at San Jose will absolutely able to sustain a $25-30M player. It just means that that guy represents about 1/3 of the payroll, and plays with mostly pre-arb, cost-controlled talent around him. And the park and fan support at Cisco will be appealing enough to that star player that San Jose could conceivably represent his most attractive offer.

    Maybe that star signing is Cespedes, or maybe, even if Cespedes does become a star, the team lets him walk, collects the two high draft picks (which will exist in the new CBA for star-level talent), and signs a Mike Stanton, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, or Jayson Heyward (all of whom will be at least a few years younger than Cespedes if they reach FA after their six years).

    My dream is Bryce Harper hitting tape-measure bombs over the colonnade onto Autumn Parkway, then trotting out to right field to a standing ovation. Surrounded in the lineup by right-handed protection like Choice, Green, Norris, maybe Carter or Taylor, etc. And it fits in the budget if the pitching staff is still mostly 0-3 year service players, as it is now.

  9. Don’t know if he can hit MLB pitching yet, but it should be fun to watch. Impressive athlete regardless.

  10. I could see dealing one pitcher for multiple prospects but the A’s won’t be in a position where they feel they have to trade 2 playoff caliber starting pitchers within a couple months, as they did with Hudson/Mulder, then Haren/Blanton, and now Cahill/Gio.

    But sure, if you have the depth and the prospects then it makes sense to keep the payroll low enough to pay two bats to anchor the order.

  11. The Wolff quote is pretty hilarious. Who knows whether this guy is Rocco Baldelli or Bo Jackson. I hope the latter. But Im glad they made the move. I just got tickets for the A’s/Yankees at Yankee Stadium for my birthday from my GF. Going with the Angels/As series in Oak in the summer this is gonna be fun to watch atleast. Gotta give Billy and Dave some props for taking a shot, and Wolff and Fisher for being open to it. This guy has hops in this video, and they go great with the Christopher Cross soundtrack.

  12. probably best workout video ever. TO has nothing on him.

  13. i don’t think cepesdes will ever seen the inside of cisco field in an a’s uni. if the opening of cisco field is now 2016, that’s a year after his last year of this deal he signed. even if he becomes a stud the a’s won’t have the revenues even if they do move south to resign this guy at 30 if he wants that big payday or whether it’d be smart to resign him at that point anyway.

    could easily see if he does become an all star the a’s dealing him in 2013 or 2014 for a bunch load of prospects that will hopefully develop and produce at the newly built cisco field in it’s 2nd or 3rd year of existence.

    do like the signing though, would’ve liked it even more it it was the 6 year deal that was rumored he was looking for as it the other cuban kid in the 19 year old soler.

  14. Did anyone else notice that Susan Slusser mentioned that Michael Taylor might be dealt at the end of today’s article? Seems a tiny bit premature, but gotta imagine the A’s have to shop somebody. Does space need to be cleared on the 40-man for Cespedes?

  15. What is with this 2016 talk? Did I miss something or isn’t it blindly optimistic to put any faith whatsoever in 2016?

    When Bud Selig set up his blue ribbon committee, no one would have ever envisioned it taking 3 years (so far). And here we are, nothing settled.

    At this point, until rights are negotiated w/ the Giants, which I assume are being done at some level through off-the-record negotiations, how can we keep pointing to 2015, ’16, ’17, etc?

  16. thats if bryce harper works out @notsellingjeans! I think he will but hes not going to be a clubhouse guy!

  17. and hey any move besides trading all stars for more prospects, just to let the fanbasee know they are still at least kinda trying, is welcome!

  18. @Nicosan’ s Taylor news: If Carter and Taylor had worked out as planned (being legit heart of the order guys) I honestly don’t think there would’ve been a rebuilt this soon. But of course, things don’t always work out as planned. I almost expect Taylor or Carter to be DFA’d at some point this season to make room for some shmoe like Clifford Pennington coming off the DL.

  19. @briggs that would suck. Better to rid of Smith and stick with Reddick and Cowgill. Hopefully they figure this out by some point in March.

  20. Yeonis, Coco, Smith/Gomes, Reddick, Cowgill, Taylor… Taylor has a lot of work to do.

  21. I’m 100% positive cespedes will re-sign with the team after this 4 year contract runs out

  22. Lets hope Cisco Field in San Jose opens in 2015!

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