The Boston Red Sox have traded left-handed starting pitcher Jon Lester. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston reported early Thursday morning that Lester has been traded to the Oakland A’s per league source. The Red Sox will receive Yoenis Cespedes in a deal that also involves outfield Jonny Gomes. The trade comes after weeks of speculation of a possible deal since the Sox have been unable to work out a contract extension for the ace and the team has been struggling and has just about fallen out of the race.
Lester is the second starting pitcher the Sox have traded so far. Last week, Boston traded pitcher Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for prospects. Now the team is sending another starter to the Bay Area, as Lester would bolster an already deep starting pitching staff for the A’s. Oakland emerged as a potential suitor Wednesday according to a report by baseball insider Jon Heyman.
A’s GM Billy Beane has already pulled off one surprise before the trading deadline by acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs and now he has added Lester to a team that is already considered the best team in the American League. With the deal, the A’s beat out the Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers in the Jon Lester sweepstakes.
Lester, who has played his entire career in Boston, has been vocal about remaining with the team. Despite a down year for the Red Sox, Lester has been impressive this season. The 30-year-old Lester is 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 149 strikeouts. His greatest value comes in the postseason where he is an overall 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA. With the A’s in serious contention, Lester can be the player that puts them over the top.
As for the Red Sox, adding Cespedes should help a struggling offense. The 28 year old is hitting .256 with 17 home runs in 101 games this season. He is a career .262/.318/.470 hitter with 66 home runs since signing with the A’s in 2012. Cespedes will be a free agent following the 2015-16 offseason. There is a slight chance Lester could end up back in Boston. He is a free agent following the end of this season and could sign a deal with the team if they come up with a suitable offer.