The Oakland Athletics were not satisfied with an early July trade that sent Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland for a few of their prospects, most notably Addison Russell.
Early Thursday morning, Oakland made a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox as they acquired ace Jon Lester. In return Boston received slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Oakland also got Johnny Gomes in the deal.
It is an interesting trade that may shake things up before the deadline. Oakland now has an impressive starting rotation that consists of Lester, Samardzija, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, along with Hammel and Jesse Chavez for their number five. Gray and Kazmir are both having superb years, Kazmir, who was an All-Star, also is in contention for the Cy Young Award. Samardzija has fit in nice with Oakland and has a 2-1 record so far with his new club. Lester joins the A's with a 10-7 record with a 2.52 ERA and has fanned 149 batters this season.
Give and Take
Thought the trade does make Oakland's starting rotation one of the best in the game, the A's lost an important piece in Yoenis Cespedes. Boston is getting a power bat in return as Cespedes joins the Red Sox batting a .256 clip with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. Boston traded away Johnny Gomes as well who was under-performing this season batting just .234.
Oakland also made a trade with the Minnesota Twins earlier in the morning that sent starting pitcher Tommy Milone to the Twins for outfielder Sam Fuld. Milone who was asking for a trade when the A's sent him to the minor leagues after acquiring Samardzija and Hammel. Fuld was not an everyday player in Minnesota, but with trading away Cespedes, Oakland looked to Fuld and Gomes to somewhat fill an open outfield slot.
Now or Never
For a team that has struggled in the postseason in recent years, Oakland is seemingly all-in for a chance to get over the hump and make a World Series run. It is interesting that Oakland is really stacking up on the starting pitching, especially for a team that struggled the past two seasons to score runs against Detroit starting pitching in the American League Division Series. Oakland certainly gained a huge piece in Lester, but are also losing a huge presence in the middle of the lineup in Cespedes.
It will also be interesting to see if this trade by Oakland sparks any other teams to rush and make a big move before the deadline.