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MLB: A’s sudden spending spree prompts more questions

Oakland A's

While awaiting word on the location of their home, the A’s on Monday decided to empty their allegedly shallow pockets on unproven talent.
They agreed to sign Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $36 million, which makes him not only the highest-paid player on the team but collector of the biggest payroll check in the company.
General manager Billy Beane might be the star on several levels, but not even he is yanking down an average of $9 mil a year in straight salary.
To be sure, $36 million is a startling figure, downright stupefying, for the A’s, a downtrodden franchise that seems to take perverse delight in constantly hiding beneath its motto: “Sure, we can afford to compete – but why bother when we’re being forced to survive in a dump?”
Cespedes was Cuba’s starting center fielder in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He hit .333 (slugging .667, with an on-base percentage of .424) with 33 homers and 99 RBIs in 90 games during the 2010-11 Cuban League season. He’s the kind of talent Billy likes to collect while, at the same time, insisting he can’t afford to keep.
Well, $36 mil is a lot of money to throw at a temporary worker. It’s a gigantic sum relative to Oakland’s payroll.
Still, the staggering implication here is that in the case of Cespedes, a widely coveted prospect, the A’s offered more than anybody else. Oakland, which avoids upscale free-agency auctions, citing lack of funds, found a veritable bank for a 26-year-old player with a relatively mysterious background.
You could get a headache trying to follow the logic.
Or maybe this is Billy exhibiting his vision. Insofar as the A’s seem confident about acquiring their San Jose panacea, perhaps this is less about expense than investment.
Cespedes, once he learns to hit a big league breaking ball, might be another property available to be moved at a profit.
Those who can afford to buy vacant homes, develop them and sell at a profit utilize a practice known as “flipping.” Flipping houses can be a very lucrative endeavor.
So, I suppose, can flipping talent. And it’s evident the A’s are knee-deep into the flipping revolution. Cespedes stands to be their biggest flip yet.