BOSTON (CBS) — There was a fire sale at Fenway Park on Thursday, but one in which the Red Sox actually got some decent talent back in return.
The trades started bright and early for the Boston Red Sox, and they were still making moves leading up to Thursday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline. The Red Sox traded away five players off their 2014 major league roster, including their two best starting pitchers in Jon Lester and John Lackey.
But they didn’t just receive a barrel full or prospects, some fungo bats and salary relief in return. They actually got a pair of All-Stars, a promising young arm, and rid themselves of Stephen Drew. All in all, it was a pretty good day at Yawkey Way (minus the fact that they traded away their ace, but it is what it is).
Here’s a quick rundown of all the moves pulled off by Ben Cherington on Thursday, and the handful of new players who will be wearing a Red Sox uniform:
Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes Traded To Oakland for LF Yoenis Cespedes
Lester is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and with his camp and the Red Sox far apart on an extension, the Sox sent their ace to Oakland along with Jonny Gomes (supermarkets will be much more interesting in Oakland now). In return they get an All-Star caliber talent in Yoenis Cespedes who should add an immediate offensive boost to their stagnant outfield.
The 28-year-old Cespedes is a career .262 hitter with 66 homers and 229 RBI in his three MLB seasons. He put up his best numbers as a rookie in 2012, hitting .292 with 23 homers and a career-high 83 RBI.
Cespedes, who has a cannon for an arm, is under contract in 2015 for $10.5 million, but can become a free agent after next season due to an opt out clause that allows him to avoid salary arbitration. He could be part of the future foundation at Fenway, or he could become trade bait next season.
John Lackey To St. Louis for 1B/OF Allen Craig, SP Joe Kelly
Lackey held the Cardinals to just four runs over 14 innings in the 2013 World Series, and with the Cardinals hoping for a different ending to their season in 2014, they went out and acquired the 35-year-old right-hander. He is signed for cheap money next season (if he actually plays for only $500,000 that is), but with the Red Sox going nowhere this season, they sold high on Lackey while they could.
In return for the his No. 2 starter, Cherington landed 2013 All-Star Allen Craig and right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly from St. Louis.
The 30-year-old Craig is a career .291 hitter, but is hitting just .237 with a .291 OBP in 97 games this season. He put up his best numbers last year when he hit .315 and drove in 97 runs, and went on to hit .375 (6-for-16) against Boston in the fall classic. You may also remember he had a run-in with Will Middlebrooks and scored the game-winning run in Game 3:
He’s no Brock Holt, but has played first base, left field and right field for the Cardinals this season, and has experience at second base, third base and in center throughout his career (maybe he does have a little Holt in him after all). Craig is making an average of $8.5 million per year through 2017, and his contract includes a club option for 2018 worth $13 million.
The 26-year-old Kelly is 17-14 with a 3.25 ERA in his career, but just 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in seven starts this season. He will be arbitration eligible in 2016.
If you’re wondering who is going to fill out the starting rotation the rest of the season, you can pencil Kelly into Lackey’s spot.
Andrew Miller To Baltimore for Pitching Prospect Eduardo Rodriguez
Andrew Miller has been a stud out of the Boston bullpen this season, and Cherington cashed in by netting 21-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez from Baltimore.
Rodriguez was the No. 3 prospect in the O’s system and ranked No. 65 overall by Baseball America at the start of the 2014 season. He currently owns a 3-7 record and 4.79 ERA after 16 starts for Double-A Bowie this season. In five seasons in the Baltimore farm system, Rodriguez went 22-26 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.249 WHIP in 87 games (86 starts).
Stephen Drew To Yankees for Kelly Johnson
Yes, the Red Sox and Yankees made a trade.
Boston sent Stephen Drew off to New York to clear a path back to shortstop for Xander Bogaerts, and in return they get veteran utility man Kelly Johnson. The 32-year-old hit .219 with six home runs and a .677 OPS for the Yankees this season, and is a career .251 hitter in his nine-year career with Atlanta, Arizona, Toronto, Tampa Bay and New York.
Translation: Bogaerts goes back to short and Will Middlebrooks can get another shot in the majors.
It should be a lot of fun Friday night when Drew and Johnson play against their former teams, as the Red Sox and Yankees open a three-game set at Fenway. Or, we can all just forget that Stephen Drew was on the Red Sox in 2014.
MORE SPORTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON