The Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to trade ace pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. In a surprise move, the Athletics swooped in and acquired Lester despite reports stating that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners were the favorites to acquire Lester’s services.
While the Red Sox do lose their best starting pitcher, the team acquires a premier young power hitter in the process. Cespedes has been responsible for 66 home runs over the course of two-plus seasons with the Athletics, becoming a key member in the middle of the best run-scoring lineup in MLB this season.
The Red Sox attempted to re-sign Lester long-term before and during the 2014 season but to no avail. As a result, Lester became the top pitcher on the market at the trade deadline this season since the Red Sox did not want to lose him for nothing.
Acquiring Cespedes at the cost of a player who likely would have left as a free agent this winter is a huge win for the Red Sox. Cespedes gives the Red Sox an immediate upgrade in the outfield and also has two years remaining on his current team-friendly, four-year, $36 million contract.
The Red Sox upper management made the best of what had become a bad situation with Lester, acquiring a premier young talent who will pay immediate and future dividends for the franchise.