Cespedes Almost Signed With Cubs

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10: Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 of the Oakland Athletics in the dugout before the start of a spring training baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium on March 10, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Prized Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes was close to signing a six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cespedes told Wittenmyer that he would have signed with the Cubs had they offered the same deal as the A's.

The Cubs reportedly offered Cespedes $36 million over six years, the same amount he eventually took from the Athletics but over two more years.

Cespedes said his decision not only came down to the fact that the A's offered more money, but also that they would not offer him arbitration at the end of the contract, allowing him to become a free agent.

The Cubs' courtship of Cespedes was well-documented this winter, Wittenmyer reporting that no front office got closer to the Cuban slugger. According to Cespedes, Cubs officials had dinner with him on three or four different occasions.

Cespedes began his Major League tenure in a big way--homering in his Spring Training debut--but has since fallen on tough times. Through five spring games, Yoenis is now just 3-for-16 with six strikeouts.

Despite his large contract, GM Billy Beane has iterated that Cespedes is not guaranteed a roster spot with the club.

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