Oakland, CA – General Manager Billy Beane shocked the world of baseball by making some major moves before the trade deadline yesterday. For the last two years the Oakland A’s have been the Divisional Champs but have been unable to get past the Detroit Tigers.
This year, Beane was bold, aggressive and confident that the moves he made would win the franchise a World Series and not just get past the Tigers. He traded his best prospect, shortstop Addison Russell for Jeff Samardzija to the Chicago Cubs on July 5th and yesterday he sent a fan favorite to Boston.
“Around this time of year I think you want to communicate with teams incase something comes along,” Beane said. “But things really start to come together in the final 36 hours before the trade deadline.”
With the best record in the Majors, Beane did the unthinkable trading two-time Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Boston Red Sox. Cespedes was brilliant in left-field and proved that with his monster throws to home plate getting runners out.
Lester who is a free agent at season’s end is known for being one of the strongest and best pitchers the Red Sox had in their rotation. He won four postseason games including two in the World Series. His job will be to prevent runs while Oakland continues to find ways to win. After losing one of their prominent starters, the A’s have to turn the page and keep improving.
“Obviously leaving Boston after being there for so long is difficult, but I’m excited to be here,” said Lester. “Going from a team that hasn’t done so well this year to the team with the best record in baseball is exciting.”
“I’m pumped for it [a chance to win the World Series] but as devastating as it was to lose a guy like Cespedes, it’s something you want to see happen in the end,” Josh Reddick said. “When you have a rotation as deadly as this one, you need these two guys coming in to give us that extra push.”
Gomes returns after being gone for two seasons. He’s familiar with the clubhouse, the players and coaches. Now he has a second opportunity to win another World Series with a team who currently holds first place. Gomes couldn’t be happier to be back in a area that he calls home. But unlike Lester, Gomes knows he’s all in to give this situation another try.
“Little biased from my end,” said Gomes. “Growing up in the area, begin an A’s fan. I always thought it was unique coming here. I went from A’s pajamas to an A’s uniform in 22 years.”
Now having that experience in winning a World Series Gomes looks forward to bringing that confidence and winning mentality to a younger ball club that he was once apart. Beane took a risk in making this trade to not just be good enough but to win it all. Meaning there will be no set backs along the way.
“I was fortunate enough to have that lifelong goal to get that World Series ring,” Gomes said. “I thought I was hungry to get that World Series ring. Now that I have it , I’ve become starving for it. It really sinks home to that’s what we play for.”
“They play the game the right way,” said Lester. “Obviously their pitching staff has always been strong. It’ll be fun to be a part of.”