Analysis: Red Sox Trade Lester to A's for Cespedes

By CalvinChu
Jul. 31, 2014

In a strange deal before the trading deadline, the Boston Red Sox have sent pitcher Jon Lester and OF Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for All-Star and Home Run Derby Champ Yoenis Cespedes.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It's a puzzling move for the A's, as they've already acquired tons of pitching help (a la Samardzija and Hammel from the Cubs), and even more surprising that they'd get so little back for a playoff push this year. Cespedes is owed $10.5 million next year, so the A's do save some money in this sense. He has been struggling big time, so maybe a change in scenery will help.

This is a home run chart for Cespedes, and you see that all but two of his homer's would clear the fence at Fenway. He could be pulling balls over the green monster day and night (though realistically he'll get a ton more doubles, etc.

The move could prove huge in a difference of production for Cespedes.

Meanwhile, Lester is in the last year of his contract, so it makes sense to trade him, but the Red Sox got a lot more for him than expected. Still only 30 years old, Lester is an impressive pitcher with a 2.52 ERA and a 9.2K/9 rate. He should benefit from moving away from Boston, though his stats would suggest otherwise. He held opposing batters to a batting average 22 points lower at home than away, but the biggest problem was that he gave up nearly 100 points more slugging percentage on the road.

However, the A's might still benefit as they won't have to face Lester this year. This season, Lester has held them to only 5 hits in 50 at bats against him, while striking them out 19 times, an impressive feat against a team that hits and walks so much.

Jonny Gomes was also sent in the trade, but the Red Sox will also get a competitive balance draft pick from Oakland. The biggest takeaway is that Stephen Vogt will get much more playing time in the OF now that Cespedes is gone. Vogt has a .351 batting average, but only had 151 at bats because the A's have so many catchers. He could see a lot of fantasy relevance now that he should start in LF in the spot Cespedes vacated.

Stay tuned for more baseball trade deadline analysis :)

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