A's make deal with Cespedes official
Cuban defector to be introduced in news conference Sunday
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Yoenis Cespedes officially became a member of the A's on Saturday, as the club finally announced the Cuban defector's four-year deal.
The A's will introduce him alongside general manager Billy Beane at a news conference Sunday, to be held at 9 a.m. PT at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
Cespedes, whose arrival was delayed by 19 days as he waited in the Dominican Republic for a worker's visa, made his first appearance in the A's clubhouse Saturday morning and underwent a physical. He also briefly spoke with manager Bob Melvin, who says he won't play the $36 million outfielder in a game "until we feel like he's ready."
"We'll work him out tomorrow and see how he looks on a baseball field," Melvin said.
Cespedes will wear No. 52 for the A's, and his presence leaves the club facing several questions. Veteran Coco Crisp has stated he wouldn't be in favor of moving to left field, but such a scenario could shape up should the A's choose to keep Cespedes at his natural position in center.
Moreover, it remains to be seen how the A's utilize Cespedes in the lineup in the early going -- ultimately, he's expected to slot into the No. 3 or 4 spot -- and whether he'll get the needed at-bats to begin the season in Oakland or begin the year at Triple-A Sacramento.
"My first goal is to make the team and stay healthy all season, and little by little, I'll make more goals," Cespedes told MLB.com in February. "I've been preparing every day for this, and I 100 percent believe that I am ready for the Major Leagues. I have a lot of international experience and experience at a high level. I'm very confident in my abilities."
The 6-foot, 215-pound Cespedes played eight seasons for Granma in the Cuban League, tallying a record 33 home runs to go along with a .333 average and 99 RBIs in 90 games during the 2010-11 campaign. He was also Cuba's starting center fielder during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, batting .458 in six games.