Major League Baseball’s season consists of 162 games and one very important day in the middle. The trade deadline.
This season one specific team dominated the trading deadline. It actually was not a team looking to win this season. The Boston Red Sox cleaned house and restocked the pantry as they were willing to wheel and deal with even their biggest rivals.
I am going to start with the biggest blockbuster pulled off this season. Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, going all in for a championship this year, sent Yoenis Cespedes to Boston in return for Red Sox ace Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes. Beane had a commanding lead in the division at this point and knew Cespedes would demand a large sum of money in a few seasons as free agency came around.
Oakland’s eventful trade deadline definitely affected Boston’s moves. Before the trade deadline the A’s sent their top prospect to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for the Cubs’ top starters, Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija. All of these talented arms coming in left Tommy Milone out of a job; therefore, Beane sent Milone to Minnesota for outfielder Sam Fuld.
Lester was spectacular for Oakland as the season continued, winning six games and posting an impressive 2.35 ERA. Samardzija was solid as well, winning five games with a respectable 3.14 ERA. On the other hand, Hammel struggled winning only two games while losing six and posting an ERA over four.
Fuld and Gomes were nice additions to Oakland’s outfield; however, the team desperately missed Cespedes’ power.
Beane’s gamble did not pay off as the Athletics failed to win their division after the Angels stormed back. The A’s were ousted by a red hot Royals team in the American League Wild Card game. Many believe this gamble changed the American League landscape for upcoming seasons.
Boston wasn’t done. The same morning they dealt Lester, they sent John Lackey from Beantown to the Gateway to the West as the Red Sox acquired struggling 1B/OF Allen Craig and young starter Joe Kelly.
Kelly made ten starts for Boston winning four games, losing two, and posting an ERA slightly over four. Craig landed on the disabled list as soon as he arrived in Beantown; however, the time off did not help as Craig played 29 more games for Boston while only hitting one homerun and posting two RBIs along with a .128 average.
Lackey was a solid addition for the Cardinals as he helped out a rotation hurt by the loss of Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha along with some dead arm stages for ace Adam Wainwright. Lackey also was big for the Cardinals in some key postseason starts.
It’s also important to remember Lackey has a $500,000 player option on his current contract that he has claimed he will honor next season for the Cardinals.
In a deal that made little difference in the long run, the Red Sox sent Stephen Drew and $500,000 to their most hated rivals in the Bronx. Receiving veteran infielder Kelly Johnson in return, Boston finalized their first deal with the Yankees since 1997.
The final move in Boston’s dismantling was sending lefty reliever Andrew Miller to the Orioles for Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller was huge for Baltimore as they worked their way to winning the East as well as the ALCS. Miller’s journey with the Orioles ended there as the Royals swept Baltimore.
Boston came out of the trading deadline like few teams have in recent years. While sending away many of their high paid, most talented players they found a way to bring back a mixture of proven talent and young potential.
It’s important to keep contracts in mind as you think about Boston’s moves. Kelly won’t be eligible for free agency until 2019. Craig is locked up until 2018. Andrew Miller and Jon Lester will both be free agents this offseason and rumors already circulate of their return to Boston.
Boston became the first team ever to finish last in their division, win the World Series, and then go back to last in their division in consecutive years.
With all of the new talent they brought in, money in the bank to spend in free agency, and Miller and Lester potentially coming back, they could be heading back to the World Series again next season.
Originally posted for KCOU Sports. http://kcou.fm/red-sox-trading-deadline-reviewed/