So much for the Florida Marlins being the leading candidate to sign Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes. According to Buster Olney, via Twitter, Cespedes will sign with the Oakland Athletics for a reported $36 million over four years.
Losing out on Cespedes is a decent blow to the Marlins' off-season strategy, but there is no doubt that the team is already looking to be significantly improved from top to bottom in 2012. Adding Cespedes would have been considered a cherry on top after spending big money on players like Jose Reyes, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. This all in addition to a new manager in Ozzie Guillen. The re-branded Marlins needed a face lift as they enter their new home stadium this season. A new uniform was just part of the plan. Bringing in players capable of creating a buzz, both locally and nationally, were always more important though.
What does this mean for the Phillies?
Naturally, it is one less potential star in the NL East to be concerned with. Cespedes, 26, comes to Major League Baseball with a powerful background, and training videos to make even Roy Halladay take a look. Now, without Cespedes, the Marlins outfield will be led by Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton. Sure enough, it is an outfield that must be respected any day they are in the line-up so this does not mean the Marlins are less dangerous.
Stanton led the Marlins with 34 home runs (two against the Phillies) and showed great promise. Coghlan has seen his numbers go down each of the last three seasons, and Morrison had to work through some possible maturity issues with manager Jack McKeon. Morrison hit 23 home runs in 123 games last season.
Cespedes gives Oakland a powerful bat, as long as he can hit Major League Baseball pitching, which does remain a fair question. Playing in a stadium like the Oakland Coliseum though will be a challenge. It is quite different from Citizens Bank Park, and that is always a good thing for the Phillies.
Read more on Cespedes signing with Oakland on The Outside Corner.