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Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Claim filed against Yoenis Cespedes

By Enrique Rojas
ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com

ORLANDO -- Edgar Mercedes, who helped outfielder Yoenis Cespedes get a multimillion dollar contract with the Oakland Athletics this season, filed an arbitration claim for breach of contract against the Cuban outfielder in a Dominican Republic court.

Mercedes, president of the Born To Play Academy, said at a news conference Tuesday in Santo Domingo that Cespedes had promised to pay 17 percent of his contract to the academy for representation, training and food while Cespedes and his family were staying in the Dominican Republic.

Besides the money owed to the academy, Mercedes said, Cespedes owes another 5 percent to Adam Katz of the Wasserman Group, the agency that represented Cespedes in negotiations with Oakland and other MLB teams.

"Yoenis has not complied with the agreement, which obliges us to resort to Dominican law to force him to do it," Mercedes said by phone. "I regret having to do this, but you must set an example."

Cespedes, in Boston for the Athletics' series against the Red Sox, downplayed the situation.

"I have no opinion about that right now," Cespedes said. "I talked to Edgar by telephone, those are Internet rumors."

However, Mercedes said he has not spoken with Cespedes since spring training.

"Since Cespedes joined the A's, he stopped taking our calls, he didn't respond (to) our messages and his financial adviser, Anthony Fernandez, informed us that at this time, he does not have any scheduled payment for us," Mercedes said.

Cespedes, 26, signed a four-year, $36 million with Oakland in February, seven months after defecting from Cuba and establishing residency in the Dominican Republic.

The outfielder hit .250 in his first month in the majors, with five homers, four doubles, four stolen bases and 19 RBIs.

Born To Play lawyer Guillermo Estrella told ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com that Cespedes also received a $5 million signing bonus.

"The basic understanding with Cespedes was that he would pay 22 percent of all the money received from Oakland 48 hours after receiving payment. We have evidence that he has already received a $5 million signing bonus in addition to his regular April salary, but now he's evading payments. He is an ungrateful one," Estrella said.