Yoenis Cespedes is an Oakland Athletic, which sounds ridiculous. What the hell is "an athletic"?
But it's also ridiculous because the idea of a six-team pursuit (that didn't include the A's) had been bouncing around since Cespedes' imminent signing became the only thing worth dreaming about, was reportedly reaffirmed by Yoenis himself, and now he's in an organization that was selling off everything that wasn't tied down--and a few things that were--a few months ago.
In immediate response, the White Sox claimed to have never been that serious anyways. That simultaneously makes sense--absent was any story of the White Sox pitching an offer to Cespedes or ever being in the supposed "lead"--while also sounding like unnecessary face-saving. The A's swept in and snatched La Potencia because they were willing to accomodate his desire to land another mega-contract before he gets too old, and were just the team to find the risk worth the opportunity that's almost never available to them.
If the Kenny Williams is starting to feel a hesitance about paying a premium for a potential short-term benefit, well, he can go and embrace those feelings for a while. The White Sox may be boring right now, but that's because they're still slumped over in the corner, holding ice to their head and chugging aspirin in the wake of their last pursuit of excitement.
Perhaps the 2011-2012 off-season was a unique set of circumstances, but between waiting for the Marlins to sign Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder Watch, and the hilariously non-predictive Cespedes story progression, it's been free agency full of moments that begged the question of why the hell I wasted any time following anything prior to the confirmation of the signing of any player.
That's not a statement made in any real anger toward the primary rumor-producer, or to suggest that the hard-working national writers were feeding us nonsense the whole time. Though, I think we can write off the following as things Cuban free agents care a great deal about:
- Other Cubans on the roster
- Proximity to Cuba
- Free soda from the vending machine
The people who emphasized that Cespedes would just follow the money seemed to have the best grasp of the situation, and simply couldn't predict the quick-developing wrinkle of the A's capitalizing on an underwhelming market for Yoenis.
But teams in general simply have no real incentive to be forthright about their intentions in a highly-competitive marketplace. While the speed of sports media has been ramped up thanks to Twitter, and makes following turgid negotiation processes more entertaining than they ever really should be, perhaps it provides even more reason to keep things in house. The White Sox certainly think so. If they could have just kept the Danks scoop away from @k0na, they'd have pitched a shutout this off-season.
I won't commit to refusing to acknowledge rumors on the blog from here on out, if for no other reason than that they provide for all the fun roster imagination exercises that I regretted missing out on when I spent the 2010-11 off-season writing drawn-out player recaps. Workshopping ideas for how the White Sox could be better is half of what draws us from beyond the standard game recaps to blogs and message boards in the first place. What I can do is pledge to submit rumors to even more grains of salt and mockery than they were already subject to, as it appears that they really might have deserved it the whole time.
In the mean time, the can't-miss prospects fail, the easily-projected veterans crumble, the sought-after free agent goes to the A's, and baseball just keeps on being impossible.