Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes had a shot to sign with the Miami Marlins and play in Little Havana, but instead he'll play for the Oakland Athletics for a four-year contract worth $36 million.
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 wanted to add a steady hitter.
Cespedes, who gained mainstream media attention after a produced video of his workout regimen went viral (Must See Video Below), will earn $9 million per season. He can become a free agent at the end of the contract.
The A's expect him to secure his P1 visa in the next couple of weeks, travel to the team's Arizona spring training site to take his physical and be ready to start training shortly thereafter.
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 offseason. 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 said Monday it has been told by Cespedes' agent that he has obtained an unblocking license from the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control — another key step to him signing.
In January, Cespedes' representatives announced he had established legal residency in the Dominican Republic, the final hurdle to him becoming a free agent. MLB then had to receive proof of residency before clubs were notified of his status as a free agent.
Yahoo! Sports first reported the agreement.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.