The Red Sox and Athletics have completed a blockbuster trade that will send left-hander Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to Oakland for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a competitive balance draft pick, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The A's will also receive cash considerations in the deal.
Lester, who has been the hottest name on the trade market for the last week, joins Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir in what was already one of the top rotations in all of baseball. Oakland appears to have made a last minute push to acquire Lester by including Cespedes in talks, beating out teams like the Cardinals, Dodgers, Orioles and Pirates, who had strong interest.
Lester, 30, is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts this season and became expendable once the Red Sox decided to sell key pieces in an effort to get younger and try to contend in 2015. The left-hander is a free agent after the season and has expressed a willingness to consider re-signing with the Red Sox after the season, so it will be fascinating to see if the Red Sox can have both Lester and Cespedes on their roster next season.
Gomes, 33, will take over for Cespedes in left field for the A's after hitting .234/.329/.354 in 78 games with the Red Sox on the season. He returns to Oakland, where he spent the 2012 season, and is considered an excellent clubhouse guy who has won everywhere he has gone.
Cespedes, who no one believed to be available in trades, gives the Red Sox the outfield power bat that they have so desperately been looking for in a very creative deal. The All-Star has hit .256/.303/.464 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI on the season, and is under team control through next season, giving the Red Sox a key piece in their effort to compete next year. Cespedes' power should play well in Fenway Park, meaning his home run numbers should inflate over the next year and a half as he moves out of a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Oakland.
It is rare to see two All-Stars traded for each other at this time of year, but the A's made another bold move with this year's playoffs in mind and the Red Sox made a key addition that will help them contend next season while grabbing a draft pick for the future.