OAKLAND, Calif. - Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes and the Oakland Athletics have agreed to a $36 million, four-year contract. Agent Adam Katz confirmed on 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.
Ortiz, BoSox settle
David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox avoided salary arbitration by agreeing on Monday to a one-year contract worth $14.575 million. The deal for the slugging designated hitter was midway between the $16.5 million he asked for last month and the $12.65 million submitted by the Red Sox, which matched his 2011 earnings.
Ortiz became a free agent after the season, then passed up a chance to go elsewhere when he accepted Boston's arbitration offer on December 7.
"People are used to see me with the Red Sox uniform, and when you have so much time in one organization, and you're identified with it, the best thing is to stay, even if it is for 1 or 2 million less," Oritz said on Monday.
The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing in 10 years. Ortiz hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last year.
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