Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has made it official, Jon Lester has been traded to the Oakland Athletics along with Jonny Gomes.
In return, the Red Sox will receive slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com was the first to report the details of the trade.
— Jon Lester (@JLester31) July 31, 2014
The 28-year-old righthanded-hitting Cespedes is batting .256 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. He belted 23 homers in his 2012 rookie season and 26 home runs last season. The Cuban native won his second Home Run Derby earlier this month in Minneapolis during the All-Star break. Cespedes has a .350/.395/.525 line for the postseason in his career, going 14-for-40 in the last two years in the playoffs. He’s also 3-for-11 at Fenway Park this season and has not hit a homer in Boston in six games played here. He is under contract through next season and is slated to earn $10.5 million, capping off a four-year, $36 million deal he signed after the 2011 season.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the A’s will include their second 2015 competitive balance draft pick in the trade to help offset the compensatory draft pick the Red Sox lose by not holding onto Lester for the duration of his contract which expires at the end of this season.
You may remember a couple of amazing throws Cespedes made from the outfield in early June. The following has the Angels Mike Trout ripping a double into left field that Cespedes misplayed when the ball bounced off the end of his glove and into the left field corner. Cespedes recovered the ball and fired it to the plate to throw out Howie Kendrick trying to score.
Talk about a great recovery.
The newly-acquired Sox outfielder made another terrific throw the next night as well after what looked like a stand-up double by Albert Pujols. The ball hit by Pujols bounced past Cespedes in the left field corner and went rolling toward center field. While Cespedes was chasing the ball down, Pujols ran past second on his way to third but was gunned down by another on-the-fly throw by Cespedes to third baseman Josh Donaldson.
Cespedes is tied for the major league lead this season with 12 outfield assists, along with Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. He will wear No. 52 for the Red Sox.
Lester — who helped the Red Sox capture two World Series titles in 2007 and 2013 was scratched from his start Wednesday night at Fenway in anticipation that he could be traded. The Sox ace and three time All-Star is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 2014. The southpaw is 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA with more than 1,500 innings pitched for the Red Sox. He is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season and was not able to reach a contract extension with the Red Sox this past spring, turning down a four-year, $70 million offer.
Lester joins a powerful Oakland rotation that includes young fireballer Sonny Gray along with All-Stars Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija was acquired earlier this month from the Cubs along with veteran righty Jason Hammel.
David Ortiz chimed in on losing Lester in a Facebook post this morning: “Wishing my man Jon Lester all the best, Red Sox Nation and the Large Father will miss you!”
The 33-year-old Gomes was one of the faces of the new Red Sox in their run to a World Series championship last season. He returns to the A’s, where he helped them to the postseason in 2012, hitting 18 home runs. Gomes — a native of the Bay Area — is batting .234 with six homers for the Red Sox this season, but the righthanded slugger is hitting lefthanded pitchers at a .302 clip.