The Red Sox officially signaled 2014 as a bridge year today when they traded Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes, plus some of John Henry’s cash, to the Oakland Athletics for slugger Yoenis Cespedes.
This comes as a surprise to many, as it was thought a cartel of prospects would be sought in return for Lester, but Cespedes brings a big bat that is sorely needed in the Fenway outfield.
The upside: Cespedes will revitalize the Sox offense, but more importantly, it may revitalize David Ortiz as it gives the middle of the order some more pop. He’s got a great arm, so with him in left field, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Shane Victorino in right field, runners will be kept at bay. It’s also debatable now that the outfielders have better arms than the current pitching staff.
The downside: Cespedes will be 29 in October, and a free agent in 2015. (We all know by now how the Sox brass feels about the 30+ crowd.) He doesn’t hit for average (lifetime .256 hitter in his less than three year career.) He also strikes out quite a bit.
The skinny: Overall, the Sox get an exciting slugger that will continually be smashing car windows in the Lansdowne Street parking lot behind the Green Monster. We need to remember…Lester could have walked and the Sox would have ended up with nothing.