Surprise! Cespedes signs with Oakland


Surprise! Cespedes signs with Oakland

All of last week, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Yoenis Cespedes would sign with Miami. The Marlins had the ability to offer him years, money and what looked to be a pretty perfect situation for the 26-year-old Cuban defector. The Cubs begun focusing their attention on Jorge Soler, while the White Sox appeared to be pulling out of the fray to sign a Cuban defector this winter.

Detroit and Baltimore also were rumored to be involved in the bidding for Cespedes. So, naturally, he signed with the Athletics on a four-year, 36 million deal.

The same Athletics that have gone all-in on rebuilding, trading away Andrew Bailey, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez during the offseason. Four years of Yoenis Cespedes doesn't do much for a team that may not contend in the top-heavy AL West until the last year of Cespedes' deal at best.

Cespedes' deal nets him more dollars per year -- a 9 million average -- that he would've got from Miami's reported six-year, 36 million offer. He'll hit free agency sooner, which was probably he and agent Adam Katz' motivation here. Unless Cespedes completely flames out by 2015, he'll make more money taking the Athletics' deal than that of the Marlins.

The Cubs and White Sox aren't really in dire straits after missing out on Cespedes. The Cubs would've had to move an outfielder to make room for him anyway, and while he could've been a vehicle for the benching of Alex Rios or Adam Dunn on the South Side, there's far too much money involved to make that a viable move for the Sox.

Watch, listen to "Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series"

Watch, listen to "Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series"

Watch the incredible story of World Series Game 7 now. 

"Reign Men: The Story behind Game 7 of the 2016 World Series" tells the story behind the Cubs finally ending "the curse." Through exclusive interview footage, country music star Brett Eldredge narrates what could be labeled the greatest Game 7 in professional sports history. 

Catch the online version in the video above. Note that because of MLB rules, no highlight footage can be shown on the online version. 

If you prefer, an audio version. Check out the podcast below. 

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

MESA, Ariz. – After an impressive camp where he looked like the next homegrown Cubs hitter to roll off the assembly line, Ian Happ will go to Triple-A Iowa and get ready to make his big-league debut, or perhaps build his value for a trade-deadline deal.

Along with Happ, the Cubs assigned outfielder John Andreoli and catcher Taylor Davis to minor-league camp on Monday while optioning pitchers Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny to Iowa, cutting their roster to 31 as the Opening Night picture comes into focus.

Happ – the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati – batted .417 with five homers, four doubles and 17 RBI in 24 Cactus League games.

"Offensively, what was there not to like?" general manager Jed Hoyer said. "I feel like he hit the ball hard every at-bat for six weeks. It's always fun to see a young guy like that come in and open a lot of eyes."

Happ, 22, is a switch-hitter who can play second base and the outfield, skills that could help him escape from Des Moines once the need arises on the major-league level.

[MORE CUBS: How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber]

Though there are questions about Happ's defense, Theo Epstein's front office and Joe Maddon's coaching staff clearly value versatility and trust young talent, moving Addison Russell to shortstop in 2015 and elevating rookie catcher Willson Contreras last season.

Stay tuned to see when/if the Cubs will have a spot at Wrigley Field, but Happ looks like he will be on a fast track.

"Whenever you're in Triple-A, you're always a call away," Hoyer said. "Sometimes it happens quicker than you think. We never expected Addie would be up in April of that year, and he was. I feel like with Willson last year, if you had asked me in spring training – would he be up in June? – I probably would have thought it would be more like a September call-up or something like that.

"You never know. Things happen. When you have good players in the minor leagues, sometimes it speeds up on you a little bit."