Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
In a deadline blockbuster, the Red Sox have traded LHP Jon Lester and OF Jonny Gomes to the A's in exchange for OF Yoenis Cespedes, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (via Twitter).
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter) added that the Red Sox also will receive a competitive balance draft pick from Boston, while the Red Sox will send under $1 million in cash back to Oakland, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
By acquiring Lester, the A's now arguably have the best starting rotation in the American League, as he's set to join Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, who were acquired earlier in the month from the Cubs, along with Scott Kazmir, Sonny Gray and Jesse Chavez. However, the acquisition of Lester is likely to force either Hammel or Chavez out of the rotation.
Lester, 30, is enjoying the finest season of his nine-year career, with a 2.52 ERA (2.62 FIP), 1.119 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. The left-hander is a three-time All-Star and finished fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2010. In terms of playoff experience, Lester is a two-time World Series champion with a 6-4 record to go along with a 2.11 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 8.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 76.2 career postseason innings. He is set to become a free agent following the season.
The A's will also receive outfielder Jonny Gomes, who likely will work in a platoon in left field given his .302/.400/.431 batting line against left-handed pitching this season. The 33-year-old spent the 2012 season with the A's, batting .262/.377/.491 with 18 home runs and 47 RBI in 99 games while helping them reach the postseason.
Boston Red Sox
Boston's outfield has posted a .344 slugging percentage this season, the lowest among all MLB outfields, so the fact that it was able to land the power-hitting Cespedes rather than a prospect package is a huge win for the organization. This season, the 28-year-old is batting .256/.303/.464 with 17 home runs, 26 doubles and 67 RBI through 101 games.
Signed to a four-year, $36 million contract before the 2012 season, Cespedes is earning $10.5 million and will earn the same amount in 2015 before hitting the open market.
Overall, the blockbuster trade fits both teams' respective timelines. The A's are now officially "all-in" this season, while Boston's acquisition of Cespedes should immediately improve the team's offense. Furthermore, it's only natural to think the Red Sox will attempt to extend him before he becomes a free agent.