BY SPNW Staff 07:50AM 07/31/2014

A’s get Lester; Mariners in idle as deadline nears

The AL West-leading Oakland Athletics (66-41) made another huge move Thursday as the trade deadline neared, further separating them from the Mariners. The A’s acquired three-time All-Star LHP Jon Lester, OF Jonny Gomes and cash from the Boston Red for OF Yoenis Cespedes. Boston will also receive Oakland’s competitive balance pick in the 2015 draft. Lester, a Tacoma native, will hit free agency after the season, so the trade means Oakland is going all-in now.

The acquisition of Lester, 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 213.1 innings, and Gomes is the second major deal executed by Oakland GM Billy Beane. The Athletics added Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs a few weeks ago and will go into the postseason with Lester, Samardzija, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir in their rotation.

Cespedes, 28, is hitting .256 with 17 home runs in 101 games. He is a career .262/.318/.470 (119 OPS+) hitter with 66 homers since signing with the Athletics in 2012.

The Mariners (55-52) have yet to make a deadline move and have until 1 p.m. Thursday to do so.

The Mariners, who wind up a three-game road trip at Cleveland Thursday night, are coming off a 2-0 loss Wednesday. Cleveland starter Corey Kluber threw just 85 pitches in his nine-inning shutout performance, the fewest needed to beat Seattle since June 29, 2012, when Aaron Cook of the Red Sox recorded a 5-0 win over the Mariners with just 81 pitches.


  • RadioGuy

    Wow, that really is a “Win NOW” move on Oakland’s part. I wondered why they’d let Cespedes go but I see he’s in the walk year of HIS contract (as is Gomes), so this is basically a deal involving three FAs-to-be.
    On a personal note, it’s nice to seem Gomes return home to the Bay Area. He grew up in Petaluma and someone I know from there who’s friends with him says he and his brother Joey, a former minor leaguer, lived out of a car for a while with their mom while they were kids. They’re apparently both great guys who’ve done things for Little Leaguers in their hometown. I like success stories like that.

    • maoling

      I believe Cespedes isn’t a free agent until 2016. Meanwhile, Jack Z has ordered pancakes for breakfast with lots of butter and maple syrup. Later today, he might call up Smoak.

      • RadioGuy

        You’re right. Looked it up on baseball-reference and he’s got $10.5 million coming his way next year. I won’t change my original post so people will understand what you’re talking about.

        I’m on the fence both on A) whether Z swings a deal before the deadline and B) whether it would be any help. Up to this point, they usually haven’t.

  • Kirkland

    Honest question. The adage other sports have , “Offense wins games, defense wins championships”, does that also hold for baseball? With “pitching” replacing “defense”, of course.

    • RadioGuy

      I think the adage holds mostly true in baseball, particularly because the defense has possession of the ball. There’ve been teams who’ve bludgeoned their way to a World Series title without benefit of good pitching/defense, but ultimately it’s easier to outscore your opponent when you’re able to hold their runs down and you need pitching and defense for that.

  • jafabian

    Don’t mind seeing Cespedes out of the AL West. He always hurt the M’s. Very much a Billy Beane move. If the Rangers could have remained healthy the race for the AL West would be fun to watch. Kind of feel for Jack as that he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Are the current M’s worth blowing up the farm for? Could they have a successful playoff run with the right players? Too many holes and needs IMO. But by doing nothing he practically guarantees looking for a new job next season, unless he was ordered to stand pat.

    • Kirkland

      They have to do *something*, because the optics of standing pat don’t look good to both fans and players (remember the Jeff Nelson rant in 2003?). Also, the offense just isn’t good enough. I’d gladly sacrifice a reliever for a solid right-handed bat; no way Felix giving up just one RBI hit should cost you a ball game.

      You’re right, the AL West with a healthy Rangers would be the best division in baseball. The A’s and Angels are the league’s best; Texas has the best offense; Seattle the best defense; and even the Astros look like they’re putting together a solid team.

  • Joe Fan

    I really don’t see the point now in doing any deal. The M’s have slowly lost ground in the division and wild card as the A’s and Angels pull away. May as well just continue to try to develop our offensive players and stay strong on pitching and defense and see where we end up.