Thursday, July 31, 2014

Athletics add Lester, Gomes and Fuld in flurry of moves

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane is at it again, pushing the A’s all-in with two deadline day deals in a matter of an hour.

Less than four weeks after landing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs, Beane sent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.

Lester, a life-long Red Sox player who owns two World Series rings has a very good chance to win for the second year in a row as the deal makes the Athletics the odds-on favorite to reach the World Series representing the American League.

The Red Sox and Lester could not come to an agreement on a contract extension so Boston began shopping the all-star left-hander. Lester is having a career year with a 10-7 record, 2.52 ERA (2.62 FIP) and a 1.12 WHIP.

Cespedes, signed back in 2012 as a free agent from Cuba, is slashing .256/.303/.464 with 17 HR and 67 RBI. Cespedes is a bonafide power hitter who will likely feast on the Green Monster in Fenway.

About one hour after the Lester/Cespedes deal was announced, the A’s shipped Tommy Milone to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld, who figures to be placed in a platoon with Gomes (.234/.329/.354 in 246 PA). Fuld (.262/.356/.366 in 228 PA) was designated for assignment by the A’s in April, so this is a quality move for the Twins. Milone is a controllable pitcher with some upside (3.84 career ERA, 4.13 FIP in 468.2 MLB innings).

As for future implications of the deals, the A’s are doing everything in their power to win now adding two top notch starters and a reliable mid-tier hurler in the matter of a month.

The Red Sox feel as though they have strengthened a very weak outfield, though I thought they could have gotten some young prospects for Lester. It’s entirely possible that the Red Sox re-sign Lester this offseason, which would make the trade a home run.

And for the Twins, turning a player they got for nothing into a potential arm in their rotation is quite a feat.

As of now, the A’s are winning trade deadline day by a landslide, but there is plenty of time left on the clock. It will be interesting to see what else happens before the 4 p.m. deadline.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.