A’s introduce Cespedes
Cespedes, who signed a four-year, $36 million contract with the A’s, said through translator Juan Navarrete that he “is happy to be able to take my first step of my dream to play in the Major Leagues” and anticipated being game-ready in five to six days.
Whether he starts the year in Oakland remains to be seen, though. A’s general manager Billy Beane, who was in attendance at the press conference alongside Cespedes’ agent, Adam Katz, said the club will “take that by ear.” Less than three weeks remain before the team jets to Tokyo to open the season with the Mariners.
“I expect he’ll see quite a bit of activity before the Japan series,” Beane said.
“I haven’t seen him out on the field doing baseball drills, and that’s what you wait for,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We hear he’s a heck of an athlete. With a lot going on, coming in to the situation like this can be uncomfortable, so sometimes the solace is getting on the field and playing baseball, where those are instinctive things.”
Cespedes appeared to quickly warm to Manny Ramirez. The two took batting practice together and were then seen talking in the outfield for an extended period of time.
The 26-year-old Cespedes is most comfortable in center field, where veteran Coco Crisp currently resides. It’s plausible that the A’s choose to keep Cespedes in his natural position and move Crisp to left field, but Beane and Melvin reiterated that the situation will work itself out in due time.
Cespedes said he will “play where they want me to play” and called his transition to the big leagues “a process.”
“It will take time,” he said. “I’ll adjust and perform the way people expect me to play.”
Katz has spent a good amount of time with his client in recent months and, when speaking about him as a person, called him “calm, focused, charming, hard-working — just a great kid.”
“He is a pretty unique physical talent,” Beane said. “You don’t see guys like this come along too often.”
If you want a peak at Cespedes, here’s some video I shot of him this morning: http://www.twitvid.com/JaneMLB