With Jon Lester scratched from his start with the Boston Red Sox it meant one thing, he was getting traded. To which team was still a mystery, yet from out of nowhere the Oakland Athletics became the favorites to land the lefty and general manager Billy Beane made it happen along with bringing back fan favorite left fielder Jonny Gomes.
Heading to Boston is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Lester in 2014 has a record of 10-7 with a 2.52 era in 21 starts in 2014, he has struck out 149 while walking 32 in 143 innings pitched and a WHIP of 1.119. More importantly he gives the A’s a pitcher with postseason experience something the A’s were desperately lacking. Even with veteran Scott Kazmir in the rotation, before adding Lester, the starting five combined for a total of 12 playoff starts, while Lester has made 11 playoff starts and has an era of 2.11 and a record of 6-4.
In 2013 he dominated the St. Louis Cardinals with a record of 2-0, a .59 era, he gave up one run in 15.1 innings while striking out 15 and walking one and had a WHIP of .652.
Gomes will primarily see action facing left-handed pitching has hit .234 with six home runs and 32 rbi in 78 games. He’s hitting .302 against southpaws with four home runs and 21 rbi, against right-handed pitching he’s hitting .151 with two home runs and 11 rbi.
In Cespedes the Red Sox get a middle of the order bat who plays excellent defense and can move back to his natural position of center field. He leads the American League in assists with 12. He’s also having a bounce back year from his 2013 campaign where he hit .241 with 26 home runs and drove in 82. He made his first All-Star Game this season and is hitting .256 with 17 home runs and 67 rbi. In two postseason appearances he showcased he can perform on the big stage hitting .350 with a home run and six rbi.
For a number of A’s fans the move was maddening as Cespedes is a fan favorite. Yet, general manager Billy Beane in 2014 has been much more aggressive in deals highlighted by acquiring Jim Johnson to replace Grant Balf0ur, which didn’t work out and Johnson got released. Acquired starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs while trading away two of their best prospects. Also, today Oakland re-acquired Sam Fuld by sending disgruntled starter Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins.
Prior to the start of the 2014 season the A’s didn’t extend the contract of Cespedes who was entering his third season of a four-year deal he signed. So, he would have likely been gone after the final year of his contract pricing himself out of Oakland’s reach and he’s also known to get injured and miss some time, so Beane made the logical move to sell him high and he did. This move give the A’s an opportunity at a World Series title.
It also means that after the season Lester becomes a free agent and since the A’s didn’t extend a qualifying offer to him there’s no compensation if he signs elsewhere. Still one things for sure, Beane and the A’s are looking to win now.