NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Deadline day started with a bang and then an aftershock.
First, the Red Sox and Athletics pulled off a blockbuster Thursday morning, finally ending weeks of speculation over the fate of Boston ace Jon Lester. The Sox later sent veteran right-hander John Lackey packing as well.
Lester is heading to Oakland, the Red Sox announced, and Lackey is on his way to St. Louis, according to WFAN and CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman.
In the trade with the A’s, the Red Sox also gave up outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash, but got back slugger Yoenis Cespedes and a competitive-balance draft pick in 2015. Their deal with the Cardinals landed the Red Sox veteran outfielder Allen Craig and 26-year-old pitcher Joe Kelly, Peter Gammons reported.
Lester, 30, is a three-time All-Star and a two-time World Series champion. The A’s have MLB’s best record at 66-41, and if there was any doubt after the Jeff Samardzija trade, now we know they’re going all-in.
Lester (10-7, 2.52 ERA) will be a free agent after this season, and he’ll have options. Some believe he could head right back to the Red Sox. Others think Boston, by not meeting his asking price, might have played him right into the New York Yankees’ hands.
For now, the Yankees won’t have to worry about Lester ruining any shot they have at the playoffs. But they’ll have to deal with Cespedes, who brings power to their chief rival’s lineup and a cannon to the outfield. He’s batting .256 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI.
Lackey had been enjoying a bit of a resurgence for the Red Sox this season, going 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA. The 35-year-old right-hander has one year and $500,000 left on his contract. Craig, 30, is hitting .237 with seven homers and 44 RBI, and Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts.
The deadline for non-waiver deals is Thursday at 4 p.m.
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