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Oakland A's Sign Yoennis Cespedes, Marlins Left in the Dust

After news came out of the Marlins' offer to Yoennis Cespedes, a lot of us felt that there was still a ways to go for negotiations, but that the Marlins were the rightful front-runner for the outfielder's talents. It turns out that the Oakland Athletics ended up with Cespedes's services, as they have signed him to a four-year deal worth $36 million. Cespedes will move to an outfield that has little depth and the A's will get a potential star around whom to build their team. It was a perfect marriage for Oakland and Cespedes, as he will get opportunity very soon and the A's will get someone who can anchor their lineup if and when they finally resolve their stadium and potential relocation issues.

On the Marlins's side, this does not really change much. Sure, the Fish were interested in getting Cespedes, but they were almost certainly going to open the season with Emilio Bonifacio playing a hefty amount of center field. Not signing Cespedes means the Marlins will not have another future piece around whom to build, but it does allow for more playing time for Bonifacio and Bryan Petersen. Neither of these players are long-term options for the club at the position, but for the immediate future, the Marlins can work with this spot as among their weaker positions.

PECOTA projections just came out, so let's take a look at some projections for the two players involved in center field this season. Here are lines for Bonifacio.

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG
PECOTA 661 .262 .314 .335
Bill James 487 .276 .338 .354
RotoChamp 630 .282 .351 .374
Fans 627 .276 .338 .353

My gut says that PECOTA is too pessimistic on Bonifacio's strong 2011 season, while RotoChamp is very clearly too optimistic on that very season. The Fans and Bill James look like they have it best, and those numbers are useful but not great.

Here are Petersen's projections.

Projection PA AVG OBP SLG
PECOTA 289 .257 .326 .372
Bill James 256 .274 .353 .400
RotoChamp 231 .260 .359 .380

All the three systems that projected both players have projected Petersen to be a better hitter than Bonifacio. This isn't too surprising, as both players had excellent 2011 seasons when looking at both their major and minor league numbers. Petersen is not better by much, but he has the advantage of having the platoon advantage for the majority of his PA, particularly because Bonifacio is not a true switch hitter and is disadvantaged batting from the left side. I have mentioned in the past that the Fish should look to manage the two players more like a traditional platoon, favoring Bonifacio slightly but substituting him more often versus right handers because of his poor numbers as a lefty hitter. Based on these projections, I would be correct to look for this.

Yes, the Marlins missed out on a potential big name, though one that did come with some risk. Nevertheless, the team will go into 2012 with some decent parts in center field that could still pan out, though certainly both players manning the position have major question marks.