The Boston Red Sox traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on July 31.
The struggling Boston Red Sox traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes on July 31.
MLB.com's Ian Browne wrote about one of the transactions that made the 2014 MLB Trade Deadeline a memorable one:
"The sun was still about three hours from rising when Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington agreed in principle on the first of four trades he would make in one of the most eventful transaction days in team history.
"With most New Englanders snug in their beds on Thursday morning, Cherington closed the deal for the slugger he coveted, Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who is in his prime and has a season remaining on his contract.
"To get him, the Red Sox had to part with long-time ace lefty Jon Lester, who will be a free agent at season's end. Jonny Gomes, who played for Oakland in 2012 and hit a huge home run for Boston in Game 4 of last year's World Series, went with Lester in the deal.
"'We had an agreement in principle on the structure -- it was probably between 3-4 this morning,'said Cherington.' And then, you know, you've got to get through medicals and Major League approval and all of that stuff, so it doesn't get really official until later.'
"As it turned out, Cherington was just getting started with that blockbuster swap of two players who were teammates earlier this month at the All-Star Game.
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"Veteran No. 2 starter John Lackey went to the (St. Louis) Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. Top lefty setup man Andrew Miller was dealt to the Orioles for left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Stephen Drew moved to the Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson.
"For all the talk that Lester would be traded for a prospect, Cherington was determined to bring in someone who could put the baseball into the seats, and that's what he got in Cespedes, who will keep his No. 52 in Boston and could debut Friday at Fenway against the (New York) Yankees.
"All season long, the Red Sox have lacked a significant offensive presence behind David Ortiz. Though the arrival of Cespedes is probably too late to salvage Boston's postseason hopes this season he gives them a cornerstone for 2015 and perhaps beyond.
"'We think he'll thrive,' said Cherington. 'He's someone who obviously seems comfortable on the stage, obviously given his performance in different events and what not and postseason and he's a really powerful, dynamic player in his prime who fits in our ballpark and the outfield.'
"As part of the deal, the Red Sox sent cash to the A's -- less than $1 million, according to a source. The Red Sox also get the second pick in the Competitive Balance Round B of next year's Draft.
"There were lots of different things we could have done and there were attractive prospect packages that were available to us for both guys,' Cherington said of Lester and Lackey. 'You know, we just felt like what made the most sense for us was to try to focus on impact Major League talent that's ready and we have a lot of good young players. We have strength in our farm system. So that's already a strength.
"'We wanted to add to the Major League team and really give ourselves a head start on building again and becoming as good as we can as quickly as possible.'"
From the Athletics' perspective, it's pretty obvious general manager Billy Beane and Co. are making a strong push for a World Series pennant, per ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes:
"Athletics general manager Billy Beane, who has been the featured subject of a best-selling book and hit movie but has never taken a team to the World Series, left little doubt he is all-in for October by making his second blockbuster trade for a starting pitcher in less than a month.
"Beane surrendered his top two prospects to the Chicago Cubs on July 5 in a trade for All-Star Jeff Samardzija and veteran right-hander Jason Hammel. In Lester, Oakland is adding a pitcher with a glittering postseason resume, including a 0.43 career ERA in the World Series.
"Beane followed up the Lester deal Thursday morning by trading left-hander Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld. Oakland has a 66-41 record, the best in the American League, but leads the second-place Los Angeles Angels by just 2 1/2 games in the AL West.
"'I believe that the deliberations leading to the two trades we did today were deeply analyzed, thoughful and value-added, 'A's owner Lew Wolff said in an email. 'The best trades are when all parties have potential benefits, and what Billy accomplished is an example of such a win-win. The calls I have received from other owners were very complimentary.'
"Lester will join a star-studded Athletics rotation that already includes Samardzija, All-Star Scott Kazmir, promising youngster Sonny Gray, Hammel and Jesse Chavez. Hammel, who has struggled badly since joining Oakland, could be in danger of losing his rotation spot with the arrival of Lester."
As of July 31, the Athletics are atop the American League West standings with a 66-41 (.617) win-loss record. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are currently last in the American League East with a 48-60 (.444) mark.
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