BOSTON (CBS) – To get the Oakland perspective on the Jon Lester/Jonny Gomes-Yoenis Cespedes trade, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Rich Keefe checked in with John Hickey of the Oakland Tribune.
Right now the A’s possess the best record in the Majors as well as the highest-scoring offense, so trading away a power bat in the middle of the order “came as a surprise to everybody” out in the Bay Area.
However, the tradeoff of acquiring an experienced starting pitcher with postseason experience was well worth it, especially considering the chances of retaining Cespedes after the 2015 season were not good.
“We are very excited about Jon Lester. Let’s not kid ourselves,” said Hickey. “The fans are very happy to have Jon Lester and somebody who’s not just gotten to the postseason, but has really done well and flourished in the postseason. They have good, deep pitching even without him, but what they didn’t have was the experience of pitching in the Division series, then pitching in the Championship series and then pitching in the World Series. They didn’t have that and now they do.”
Right now the Athletics, and general manager Billy Beane, are operating on a World Series Or Bust mentality, and so trading for Jon Lester — even though he’ll likely be a rental — was just a necessary step in accomplishing that goal.
“I think Oakland would make a run at signing Lester in the offseason, but I don’t think they have the financial wherewithal. When you think what the Red Sox could offer, what the Yankees could offer, what the Braves, Dodgers or Phillies can offer, they’re not going to have that kind of financial backbone.”
As for the Boston angle, Hickey says the Red Sox are getting a player in Yoenis Cespedes who is very well liked by his teammates and is somebody that always puts in the work.
The Red Sox also acquired Allen Craig from St. Louis on trade deadline day through the trade of John Lackey. Craig can play first base and outfield, and it’s safe to assume he won’t be replacing Mike Napoli at first. That leaves Craig in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. patrolling center and Cespedes in right field* which, at Fenway Park, can be a bit challenging with all that ground to cover.
Hickey told Rich Keefe that Cespedes, primarily a left fielder in Oakland, will make the transition fine to right field at Fenway.
“He’s a natural center fielder so he can play any of the positions. He’s got a terrific arm, and in some ways he’s built for right field. But here in Oakland they also had Josh Reddick, who you are familiar with in Boston. Left field just worked for him here. He started out the first couple months as a center fielder, but I don’t see a problem once he gets used to the Pesky Pole and the bullpen behind him.”
Listen below for the full discussion:
*General manager Ben Cherington said on Thursday that right fielder Shane Victorino is “probably going to miss a little time” with a sore back.
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