The Pirates have shown interest in two Oakland bats.

Jon Lester Traded to Oakland For Yoenis Cespedes

Jeff Passan reports that Jon Lester has been traded. The team is unknown at the moment.

Updates to come.

UPDATE 9:42 AM: Passan says Lester is going to a West Coast team.

So I think it’s safe to say we can rule out the Pirates, unless the report is wrong. My guess would be the Athletics.

UPDATE 9:47 AM: Jon Heyman says it appears to be the Athletics, but it’s hard to tell if that’s speculation.

UPDATE 9:48 AM: Alex Speier says it’s Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes.

Holy. Balls.

UPDATE 9:53 AM: Pretty much everyone has confirmed this. I usually do an article looking at what the Pirates would have to give up to match the return. In this case, I have no clue. Cespedes is an amazing hitter, but is under control through the 2015 season. Who would you even have to give up if you’re the Pirates? Starling Marte? Gregory Polanco? Neither is on the level of Cespedes right now, but the years of control might even the score. No matter what, this is an insane price that the Pirates probably wouldn’t, and definitely shouldn’t, pay.

Jeff Passan reports that Boston will also receive a comp pick, and Oakland will receive cash.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • letsgopitt123

    O the suspense

  • jaygray007

    Oakland :/

  • Nuke Laloosh

    Billy Beane is going “all-in” so it very well could be the A’s.

  • Jason Kaatz

    Glad it wasn’t the cards or brewers

  • moose7195

    I’m kinda hard pressed to see how this makes the A’s overall better this year. An every day all star OFer for a SP for two months might just be the worst trade I’ve ever seen.

    • lonleylibertarian

      Nope – actually makes a ton of sense for the As – they can put a rotation together for the post season that is pretty awesome – and with injured pitchers coming back next year they will not miss Lester then.

    • jaygray007

      but it’s only 8 months of a 3 WAR OF. Moss probably moves to the OF to platoon with Gomes. Vogt can take over Moss’s 1b spot.

      • PiratesFan1975

        It’s not only 8 months. After next year Cespedes can be retained via arbitration in 2016 & 2017. He won’t be a free agent until 2018.

        • jaygray007

          that’s what i thought originally too.

          He has an opt out after next year that he’ll probably take because his FA value will greatly outweigh his arbitration salaries.

          • PiratesFan1975

            Then this is an odd move by the Red Sox and the trade makes a lot more sense for the A’s.

            • jaygray007

              yeah if i was a rebuilding team, i’d rather have… say… Josh Bell… over Cespedes.

              I guess the Sox see themselves competing in 2015.

  • moose7195

    Thank you NH for not beating that deal for Jon Lester

  • jaygray007

    just throwing this out there…. Cespedes has never exceeded 3 WAR and it’s just 1 year of him…

    honestly… i think Bell is a little more valuable than Cespedes… at least to a rebuilding team

    I guess the Sox are more concerned with 2015 than 2016 and aren’t actually rebuilding.

    • jricentral

      You are assuming Neal DID offer Bell to the Sox! I’m pretty sure we didn´t!
      Boston got good value out of this trade, and I’m glad my Bucs did not try to trade more tan the As offered!

      • jaygray007

        True! I should replace Bell with “Hypothetical near-elite prospect from any team.”

        • jricentral

          Not really… You asume that Boston rejected Bell in favor of Céspedes. And there’s nothing I’ve read that suggests Neal offered Bell at any point. About your Hypothetical near-elite Prospect, there woud have to be some news what other teams offered. Right now, all you can say is that Boston took the best offer available, which was Céspedes…

    • S Brooks

      Yeah, 6.5 years of Bell is more valuable than 1.3 years of Cespedes. Taking Bell’s midseason Baseball America rank of #35 and the work done at 538 this spring, Bell’s expected value is somewhere between 6-7 WAR during his controllable years. If Bell finishes strong and finds himself at #25 going into next season, his expected value jumps to 8 WAR.

      Cespedes would chalk up 4 WAR over the next 8 months in Boston. The Monster might give him some extra doubles, they could get a little more value out of him, but all in all a Josh Bell with fewer than 100 AB above A ball is still more valuable than a season and a third of a proven commodity like Cespedes.

    • John Lease

      If Bell were more valuable, he’d have done something above AA. That’s a pretty ridiculous comparison.

  • wilbert matthews

    This is why Billie Beane is a genius. Essentially renting Lester at the cost of the difference between Gomes and Cespedes. This is a brilliant deal by the A’s and yet a good deal by the Bosox as well.

    • Andy Prough

      For me, this trade only works if the A’s win the World Series this year. If you don’t win the World Series, then you could have gotten Lester in the off-season as a free agent without losing Cespedes. Talk about pushing all your chips into the middle of the table on a deal. Beane could be opening next season with no World Series title, no Lester, and no Cespedes.

    • CityofChamps

      Totally disagree. I think Cespedes is overrated, but he’s still a very good outfielder with a chance to get better. Johnny Gomes is 33, having a bad year, and is a free agent after this year. Cespedes is under contract for 2015. The difference between a year and a half of Cespedes (maybe more if they extend him) and half a year of Gomes is pretty big

  • wilbert matthews

    Cespedes has double the AB this year of Gomes but they are not that far apart statistically. I don’t think the A’s lose much offense and they now have a fantastic starting staff.

    • Jim

      Ehh idk if that’s true. Gomes has been essentially replacement level this year while cespedes has been worth 2.3 wins. It’s a good move in that it opens up more playing time for their catching platoon to play at first with giving moss some time in the OF

    • Kevin_Young

      Cespedes is much better than Gomes…you can’t really spin it to even make it very close.

      • jaygray007

        the argument shouldn’t be about Gomes vs Cespedes.

        It’s more that they had the depth (especially now that they got Fuld) to really make this work. Between Fuld/Gomes/Crisp/Reddick/Moss/Vogt, they can still mix and match 1b/OF vs righties and lefties very effectively.

        • Kevin_Young

          This is exactly why they were comfortable doing it.

  • Monsoon Harvard

    I still think John Lackey looks like a more affordable pitcher, and he has a relatively inexpensive option for 2015. At least they shouldn’t need to give up Josh Bell.

    • Andy Prough

      The problem with Lackey is that he doesn’t really give you anything much better than you already have in the lineup – why trade assets if you aren’t going to improve your lineup? The only reason to look at Lester was because he could give you a true top line starter for the playoffs this year.

  • Nate James

    As a pirate fan, I can’t help but pull for the A’s now if the pirates get eliminated during the playoffs. Such a gutsy move by Beane to make them the odds on favorites to win the World Series. Love seeing small markets do something news worthy!

    • cmat0829

      Not sure what Boston is really doing here. They demanded TOP young pitching from the O’s and top prospects (multiple) from the Dodgers and Pirates…but settle on Cespedes who is controlled only thru 2015 and has some issues the A’s don’t like at all. Cespedes is a big name, but seems odd to ask Dodgers for 3 of their young stars and then move him for Cespedes.

      As to the A’s, I like this move, just like I would have

      • mam995

        That’s because the other GM’s said NO to Boston’s outrageous demands…which were crazy. I don’t blame the Red Sox though for asking. In the end, they took what they could get. The quality, the level of prospects that they wanted just did not make sense for the other teams. But Billy Beane is going all in. He is throwing caution to the wind. He doesn’t CARE about tomorrow. He wants to desperately win NOW. As crazy as it sounds…he may STILL try to get Price. He was negotiating with the Rays for him before this deal came down. He still has two BIG prospects in the minors left to trade, a power hitting first baseman and his top organizational prospect. Plus, he has Tommy Miliones,a good enough left handed starting pitcher to sweeten the pot. That deal probably can fetch him Price. If the A’s get Price, that rotation will match the talent of the 1971 Baltimore Orioles with their FOUR 20 game winners. It took a Pirate team with 2 hall of Famers and a hot Steve Blass to beat that team…and they were lucky to come from behind to do it. Today, I don’t see ANYBODY in baseball that would beat that potential A’s staff. In a short series, it could happen…but I seriously doubt it.

    • Nathan Ward

      As a Pirates fan, I have always pulled for the A’s. And especially in recent years. They are my American League team. Something about that team was alluring to me even as a kid, and I absolutely LOVE the way Billy Beane works with the limited resources he has at hand. Hell, I still remember picking up a bunch of those replica A’s batting helmets at the old Kennywood fast pitch game over the years!

  • PiratesFan1975

    I see a lot of people mentioning Cespedes only being controlled thru 2015. His contract is thru 2015. He is controlled thru 2017. He won’t have 6 years of service time until after 2017 season.

    • jaygray007

      he has an opt out that allows him to become a free agent after 2015 for his age 30 season. Just some kind of weird loophole that happened with his specific contract.

    • Nathan Ward

      He’s an international signing with a minimum of 5 years playing pro-ball before his MLB contract. As such, there are no arb years. He’s an FA after 2015.

  • unfurious

    Are the A’s trying to corner the market on pitching? I’m kinda serious about that question. Is it a strategy this year to stockpile top pitchers and leave everyone else unable to bolster their rotations?

  • Dave Parker’s Unfiltered Camel

    it looks like the Pirates would have had to trade Marte or Polanco to get Lester?if that is the case, I’m glad the Pirates did not make that deal. that doesn’t make this a bad trade for Oakland.

    • wkkortas

      It’s a good deal if the A’s win it all, but it’s an all-or-nothing deal. If the A’s don’t win the World Series, you’ve given away Cespedes and have nothing to show for it. Like you said, I’m glad the Pirates didn’t take that risk.

      • Nathan Ward

        You’re only giving up a year of Cespedes. The A’s were never going to be able to sign him when his contract is up after 2015. And if anybody is good at plucking nobodies off the scrap heap and making it work, it’s Beane. The A’s will be fine after this year.

    • jaygray007

      Marte and Polanco are both about5-6 times more valuable than cespedes in a trade.

      also, your username made me lol. kudos haha.

  • S Brooks

    If Cespedes opts out after 2015 can Boston make him a QO? If so, that makes this an Dven better deal for Boston – getting a 2nd round comp pick in ’15 and a 1st round pick in ’16 for a platoon OF and an expiring SP. They wanted Bell/Pederson/Taveras; they’re getting Cespedes and two chances to draft the next Bell.

    • jaygray007

      i had the same question.. here’s our answer.

    • chuck conner

      This is a win-win for both teams. Oakland has a great chance to go to the WS. Boston doesn’t need Lester this year, they aren’t going anywhere. Boston get their right hand power hitter, plus a chance to get Lester back next year when they will be more competitive. Plus an extra high draft pick. Lester got a WS ring in 2013, could get one in 2014, and go back to Boston for another in 2015. It’s great right now to be John Lester. In the mean time Oakland has Gomes, to take the sting off of losing Cespedes. Billie Beane has a lot of guts….. Oh, did I mention, Boston having Cespedes for the 2015 run and possibly beyond.
      I’m also very glad NH didn’t make this move. Bell’s our 1st baseman we don’t have.

      • jaygray007

        plus they just got Sam Fuld, owner of a 2.3 WAR this year.

        Billy Beane is the freaking man haha

  • bucsws2014

    I don’t know what happened to Hammel during his four starts with Oakland (BBs way up, 9+ ERA!), but he’s now redundant and I expect the A’s to move him. Hammel has been excellent vs. Brewers this year (also good history vs Nats). If he’s not broken and the A’s aren’t asking for much, he’d be worth a look. Seems to me his value has taken a hit, so A’s might not ask for much.

  • Bryan Graham

    I’m just glad the Lester saga is over, now the other shoes will start dropping quickly. Kind of like everybody waiting to see what Lebron was going to do.

  • Remember92

    Dealing for Cespedes was a very shrewd move on the Red Sox part. He is going to be a FA after next year. So they can offer him a QO and get a comp pick. Plus they got a competetive balance pick from the A’s. So that is two top 40 picks in the draft over the next two years. So now it’s up to their scouts to hit on those picks. And we all know how well the Red Sox draft. But this also shows loud and clear that the Pirates, Dodgers, Cardinals, or whomever weren’t giving up one or two A+ prospects for a rental.

    • jaygray007

      No QO for Cespedes. It’s part of his contract that he be non tendered.

      • Remember92

        Interesting, hadn’t heard that from his contract

  • bucsws2014

    Tommy Milone to Twins for Sam Fuld? Seems cheap. Fuld’s been mostly a replacement level guy till this year. Always seems to be available for cheap. He does replace some of Cespedes defense and is an oppo bat platoon for Gomes. But certainly seems BB could’ve gotten more for Milone if he tried. Guess he was looking for a certain piece and willing to give up value. Interesting approach, definitely follows an “all-in or bust” strategy.

    • wkkortas

      I’m not sure why you trade a perfectly good back-end rotation piece for a guy who’s a platoon player that’s all glove, especially a guy you’d just DFA’d in the off-season.

    • Jaynestown

      Sam Fuld is a Billy Beane guy (I live out in Bay area). He has favorites and sticks to them (like he did with Derek Barton, Vogt, etc before), so he would overpay to bring him back into the fold.

  • William Wallace

    I would rather have Cespedes then Lester.

    • Nathan Ward

      Not me. Pitching wins in the playoffs. Adding a stud with World Series experience on the bump is far more important than a middle of the lineup bat when it gets down to the post-season.

  • SevenPatch

    Well at least Lester didn’t go to the Brewers, Cards or Reds.

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