The Boston Red Sox have been struggling mot of the 2014 season with a 48-60 record through two-thirds of the season. A 13-game deficit will be an even tougher hill to climb without four of the five starters on the Opening Day roster to start this season.
The Red Sox got started by sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes off to the already pitching loaded Oakland Athletic for slugger Yoenis Cespedes. Lester and Gomes are both free agents at the end of the season while Cespedes has options after the 2015 season. The Red Sox sent cash considerations in the deal and Oakland sent a competitive balance draft back to Boston.
Lester has been the best starter over the last year and a half and was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 2014. Gomes is a quality bat against lefties while also coming off the bench for the Red Sox.
Cespedes is a force that adds some thump in the middle of the Red Sox lineup immediately. He has 17 home runs this year while having 23 or more the previous two season. Plus, he has showed his power by winning the home run derby two straight seasons for the first time since Ken Griffey Jr.
After making the superstar deal in the morning, the Red Sox flipped John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. The Red Sox also included Single-A lefty Corey Littrell in the deal.
Lackey had the most wins on the Red Sox staff this season (11) while posting a solid 3.60 ERA. Craig and Kelly were both having tough years with the Cardinals and were struggling to get any momentum this season in the National League. Both players will be on the active roster come Friday.
A little while later, the Red Sox made a move within the division and sent left-handed reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for the No. 3 prospect in the organization, pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been struggling at Double-A, but is still a player who could be a middle of the rotation pitcher. The Orioles get a lefty who can dominate in a setup role and has a solid 2.34 ERA while going 3-5 on the season with the Red Sox.
The Red Sox weren’t done just yet as they also shipped off struggling shortstop Stephen Drew to the New York Yankees for infielder Kelly Johnson. Drew has been hitting below .200 for most of the season, but has shown some signs of life at the plate of late. Johnson is currently on the DL. This is the first deal between the AL East rivals since 1997.
With this move, Xander Bogaerts will likely end up back at shortstop once Will Middlebrooks gets recalled from his rehab assignment in Pawtucket.