OAKLAND, Calif. - Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a $36 million, four-year contract.
Agent Adam Katz confirmed Monday the outfielder had reached agreement on a deal, with details still to be finalized. This is a significant move for Oakland, which now has the steady hitter it sought to boost the roster heading into 2012.
Cespedes will earn $9 million per season. He can become a free agent at the end of the contract.
The team also has expressed interest in slugger Manny Ramirez. The A's, hoping to be given clearance from Major League Baseball to relocate to San Jose and construct a new ballpark, have been in rebuilding mode this winter. Oakland traded starting pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and also All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.
Cespedes toured the Miami Marlins' new downtown ballpark last Wednesday, and appeared to have other suitors, as well.
In a surprising move, it was the A's who made a splash and outbid some big-spending clubs.
Cespedes played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and is projected to be ready for the majors. Cespedes said six teams were interested in signing him: the Marlins, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland and the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.
Major League Baseball has said it has been told Cespedes' agent that he has obtained an unblocking license from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement.
CBSSports.com's C. Trent Rosecrans notes that the A's signed center fielder Coco Crisp to a two-year, $14 million deal this offseason with an option for 2014. Some, though, have wondered if Cespedes isn't more of a corner outfielder than a center fielder, so he could move and the team could leave Crisp in center.