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All In

Lester and Gomes to the A’s for Cespedes. Billy Beane going all in. Sounds like a good deal for the Sox, too.


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1 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 9:32 am

Sure, especially if Lester returns to Boston as a free agent.

2 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 10:29 am

Hm, I figure if they wanted Lester at the price they think he's going to command, they wouldn't have traded him.
It seems like about the right value on both sides. On the one hand, Lester is just a two-month rental, so Oakland gets some extra boost for this year's run at playoff success (and that ain't nothin'). On the other hand, Cespedes has just one year left on his contract. He's a good player -- great arm and good power -- but not a great player, IMO. I bet Boston would have preferred a top prospect, but nobody was offering one.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 10:37 am

3) How many times have the prospects traded in a deadline deal for an ace pitcher panned out? I know Freddy Garcia was in the Randy Johnson deal, there was the infamous Bartolo Colon trade with Lee, Stevens, Sizemore and Phillips, and way back when Smoltz in the Doyle Alexander trade. But those seem to be the rare exceptions...

4 ms october   ~  Jul 31, 2014 10:38 am

ugh, i like cespedes, but now on red sox.
have to assume he has a nice relationship with the monster.

a team like the a's has to go all in when they could actually do something in the playoffs.

5 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 10:47 am

[3] Jeez, I dunno, I can never remember the prospects in those trades, because I've never heard of any of them at the time of the trade!

I know the Orioles were just unwilling to trade a top prospect. That's why they didn't get Lester.

[4] Yeah, if Lester can net them two playoff wins, say, that's worth a bundle. More than Cespedes is worth to Oakland, for sure.

Hey, if Jon gets a ring with the A's, that only increases his leverage this winter, right?

6 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 10:55 am

[3] On the other hand, how many times do these veteran rentals really work out? Probably more often than prospects panning out, but I bet it has been rare for a trade deadline addition to actually put a team over the top.

7 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 11:02 am

[6] Take CC Sabathia, for example. He was a great near-deadline pickup for the Brewers. But despite the Brewers were 4 games back when the got him, and they finished 7.5 back, the entire time remaining in second place. Maybe without CC the Brewers don't slip into the playoffs as a WC team (though even with him, they were knocked out in the first round), but it's hard to know for sure.

I suspect most mid-season trades have, in the final analysis, little impact one way or the other. (Though I guess if your team makes it to the playoffs, since pitchers have the biggest impact on the game, adding a pitcher whom you start a couple of times will necessarily shape the playoffs significantly.)

8 ms october   ~  Jul 31, 2014 11:21 am

[7] here is a link from last year that rates the top mid-season trades.
the david justice to yankees in 2000 is one we might remember.

9 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 11:25 am

Well, of course, there's no "for sure" in these kinds of transactions.
The question is, do the A's have a better chance of winning in the playoffs than they had without Lester or Gomes and with Cespedes? Of course they do. That's how Beane is looking at it... as he should.

10 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:03 pm

Heyman says Lackey has been traded to the Cardinals.

So, who is going to pitch against the Yankees this weekend???

11 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:31 pm

[10] maybe PeteAbe or Peter Gammons...

12 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:42 pm

[10] The Sox have also traded Andrew Miller. The Yankees MUST take advantage of this and sweep these depleted Red Sox this weekend. Any other result would be a huge disappointment.

13 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:46 pm

[9] OK, but all trades involve...trade offs. Beane should only try to make such a move if it 1) helps his team get into the playoffs, or 2) if he is *sure* they will make the playoffs, the player obtained will improve their chances of winning in the payoffs.

But adding such a player will necessarily cost something, either a player currently on the team (in this case, Beane must think that Lester is better than Cespedes), or a potential future player (i.e., prospects). Now, should Beane make *any* move to improve the chances of winning now, no matter the cost? I think we would agree there must be a limit to the cost. So that gets us back to the question, how much does adding a player improve a team's chances to get to and/or win in the playoffs, and is that improvement worth the price.

My main contention is that mid-season trades rarely have much impact at all, and so one should be very conscious of the cost. In general, the only teams that should ever even think of adding a player are those that 1) have a borderline chance to make the playoffs and so adding a single player for 50 or 60 games has the potential to make a critical difference, or 2) teams that are more or less certain to make the playoffs, in which case an additional player might greatly improve the chances of winning in the playoffs (especially true of adding an excellent starter).

I imagine that these circumstances are rather rarer than the number of deadline deals that are actually made.

14 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:46 pm

Also, I think it's pretty clear that when you have a chance to win, you should ALWAYS deal your prospect for a front-line player. The Yankees have dealt away a lot of "untouchable" talent over the past ten or fifteen years: D'Angelo Jiménez, Dioner Navarro, Jesus Montero. The vast majority of baseball prospects under perform. If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, then an all-star on your roster is worth five prospects in your system -- and that might be overvaluing the prospects.

15 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 12:54 pm

Marlon Byrd coming to the Yanks.

16 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 1:00 pm

[8] David Justice is interesting in that the Yankees acquired him about a month before the deadline. Thus, he was around for 78 games rather than only 55 or so had he been acquired at the deadline, so he could make more of an impact. Plus, the Yankees gave up some pretty marginal talent, so he didn't cost too much (though Ledee and Westbrook had decent careers as far as it goes).

17 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 1:01 pm
18 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 1:02 pm

Actually Byrd news is from "fake" twitter accounts.

19 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 31, 2014 1:03 pm

Joel's Sherman says no, they haven't.

20 iyasu   ~  Jul 31, 2014 1:05 pm

Please excuse the off-topic comment. This is for baseball fans who might be in the vicinity of Central Park on Sunday morning.

The nanshiki baseball team I play on, the Brooklyn Dumbos, is in the playoffs. (Nanshiki means soft type. We use a sturdy rubber ball, not the conventional hardball.)

The first round (quarter-final) is at 8 a.m. at Field 1 in North Meadow in Central Park (5-8 min walk from the 96th St stop on the B or C or 96th St stop on the 6). Other quarter-finals will be played at Fields 3, 6 and 10, weather and field conditions permitting.

The games are 7 innings with a time limit (due to field permit availability) but it's a pretty competitive league with some former pros and players who made it to Koshien, the high school tournament that is in many ways a bigger deal than pro ball in Japan.

Photos, results and more at: http://jaabaseball.blogspot.com/

21 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 2:49 pm

But if *this* proves to be true, it could be the very move that puts the Yanks over the top: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/07/yankees-to-acquire-stephen-drew.html.

22 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 2:51 pm

Yanks get Drew...

23 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 2:55 pm

[21] For Kelly Johnson.

The Yankees' Way is mysterious to me.

24 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:16 pm

[22] Yep - and also Martin Prado, says Jack Curry, though for what I don't know.

If Prado plays some combination of 2B and OF, then Drew plays . . . where exactly? Or is Brian Roberts hurt?

25 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:18 pm

[23] Scratch that - apparently Peter O'Brien is going to the D'backs.

Not sure how I feel about that.

26 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:18 pm

[23] On the bright side, it was nice to give the Sox a little salary relief this season (assuming no money was exchanged in the deal).

27 rbj   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:20 pm

On vacation in rural NC this week. So . . . Anything going on?

28 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:20 pm

[24] well, it looks like O'Brien can hit, according to his minor league numbers, though he may be a bit old for his current MiL level (AA) and he doesn't seem to have a position. In other words, the move is basically pointless.

29 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:21 pm

[23] Or maybe Jeter is finally going to make the move to the OF.

30 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:23 pm

And now Martin Prado.

31 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:24 pm

[28] HA!

[27] My understanding is a lot of power, but sub-par contact and pitch recognition skills. The question is, will he make adjustments and be a solid MLB player due to the power, or does he not make adjustments and flop in the minors?

32 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:25 pm

Today is bananas!

33 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:27 pm

[30] Meanwhile Prado is signed through 2016 at $11 million/year, so presumably Cashman and Co. see something they like. What it is, exactly, I am not sure. OK, he's versatile, but I don't see this moving helping much down the line.

34 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:46 pm

Roberts designated for assignment.

35 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:53 pm

[13] Oh, come on, of course Jon Lester is a better player than Cespedes. And the A's replace Cespedes with Gomes, who isn't very good but is better than a "Replacement Player". Whereas Lester replaces, who, Milone? He really is RP level, or maybe just marginally better.

What Oakland gives up is a year of Cespedes, which is real value at $10M and matters to them. On the other hand, I bet Beane thinks he can find someone to spend that money on who will give him just about as much production as Cespedes would.

These other moves seem almost meaningless. I guess Drew is a bit better than Brian Roberts, but I can't see him contributing more than a handful of runs over Brian this season.

36 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:55 pm

[33] WOW - did not see that coming. Roberts has not done much, but I figured Prado would see more OF time than anything else, with him and Drew both being super-subs . . . it's a business.

37 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 3:59 pm

[34] I never said Lester was not better. My point was that all moves (and we are focusing on deadline moves in this discussion) are tradeoffs. It's not simply "does player A makes us better, ok we have to make the deal." How much better does player A make us? How much will player A cost this year and beyond?

38 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 4:00 pm

[35] From what I read, Prado will see time mostly in the OF, with Drew mostly playing (out of position) at 2B.

39 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 31, 2014 4:10 pm

[37] Yes, Prado in RF apparently - also out of position (he has 1 game played there).

I think the Yanks did alright - improved some for now without sacrificing any future assets. In fact, if Beltran is able to play the OF again, Prado might become a movable asset this offseason.

40 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 4:12 pm

[37] Unless they view him as a legit 2B for next year and the year after, with the MiL guy (Refsnyder?) challenging him.

Yeah, Prado seems alright. In these days of three-man benches, having someone who's competent at a few positions is worth something.

The Drew deal still confuses me.

41 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 4:22 pm

[39] Drew deal: my guess is that they (Cashman et al.) believe that Drew is quite a bit better than his current performance numbers. It's not that they think of him as their future -- his contract is just this one year. Small upgrade expected, and KJ was useless.

[36] The A's get significantly better this year, when they have a shot at some post-season treasure. They get a little worse next year. Put it this way: if the Red Sox were in the race, there is no way in hell they would make this trade. The net value favors Oakland, but since all the value they get is this year, and that's useless to Boston, both sides benefit.

Is anyone surprised that Cherrington couldn't get more? I'm not, but I think RSN was expecting a top prospect plus one or two speculative younger prospects.

42 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 4:23 pm

Sorry, to clarify: the Yankees must think Drew is under-performing his actual ability and that he'll regress upward. It makes sense, assuming Stephen isn't hurt.

43 rbj   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:22 pm

Have to compare next year's opening day roster with this one.

44 randym77   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:27 pm

I'm surprised the Yankees and Red Sox worked out a deal. Don't see deadline deals within the division that often.

I like the Prado move. He can play any position in the infield, and some OF as well. A good fit for a roster with some aging players who might benefit from regular rest days.

45 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:52 pm

[40] The A's get significantly better this year, when they have a shot at some post-season treasure.

That's the key. Beane surely is not worried the A's will make the playoffs, so presumably he has calculated that Lester significantly improves the A's chances of advancing in the post season.

46 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:54 pm

we didn't trade Jeter, Gardner, Tanaka, Betances, or Robertson...
so we did fine.

47 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:54 pm

[44] Well, yeah. Isn't that undeniable? I don't get it.

[43] I heard Cherrington's press conference. He basically doesn't give a shit if he makes the Yankees better this year. And Drew won't be on the Yankees next year.

48 RIYank   ~  Jul 31, 2014 5:55 pm

[45] That would have been something, if they traded Jeter, huh?

49 randym77   ~  Jul 31, 2014 6:05 pm

B-R says the last time the Yankees and Red Sox traded was 17 years ago.

50 rbj   ~  Jul 31, 2014 6:06 pm

[47] doesn't he have something like 10 & 5 service? Though he might have been amendable to a trade to a contender to get a ring.

51 randym77   ~  Jul 31, 2014 6:07 pm

[49] No way. Just no way. Jeter doesn't need any more rings. I think he'd rather go out a Yankee.

52 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 31, 2014 6:17 pm

47) something, indeed. I just couldn't exclude him from the short list of Yankees (count em on one hand) worth watching this year.

53 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 31, 2014 7:08 pm

[40] Drew's hit much better in the last month or so and I think his late-start to the season, with essentially no Spring Training, probably goes a long way to explaining his struggles.

[46] Actually, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that Drew is on the Yankees next year, given that his major concern with signing with the team previously was that he wanted more guaranteed time playing at SS and what do you know, the Yankees are just going to be needing a new SS.

I actually like the trade (Drew's inexperience at 2nd notwithstanding). If he hits to something resembling career norm down the stretch, he ought to be an upgrade to the lineup, and both sides will get a chance to get a feel for if they'd be a fit longer term.

54 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 7:21 pm

[46] Well, yeah. Isn't that undeniable? I don't get it.

Our entire exchange goes back to [6][7] and [9]. I was only trying to respond to your blanket statement in [9] The question is, do the A's have a better chance of winning in the playoffs than they had without Lester or Gomes and with Cespedes? Of course they do. That's how Beane is looking at it... as he should.

All I was arguing is that there is more to it than what you posited there; i.e., the general calculus is more complicated that simply does player A make us better now/better in the play offs. In the end, we agree on that point, I think.

I still stand by my initial assertion at [6], responding to [3], that deadline deals in general usually have little real impact, and so teams should be very cautious overpaying for a short term, likely marginal improvement.

55 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 7:22 pm

[52] You see this as basically an audition for for Drew for next year? Same with Headly?

56 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 7:24 pm

[52] Except Drew will be a FA at the end of the year anyway, so unless the team really wanted to get a close up look at him, or unless they really think he's an improvement taht will matter this season, perhaps they should not have bothered making the move. At least force the Sox to pay Drew's full salary.

57 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 31, 2014 7:54 pm

[54] More so for A than B. Headley's back issues are a long-term concern for me, who knows what the Yankees are thinking there, maybe this gives them a chance to get a better medical opinion on it. In any case, I think they're both a clear upgrade in-season, so anything that extends beyond that is gravy.

[55] We know the team was interested in Drew the last 2 off-seasons, assuming his bat comes back to something approximating where it has been for the rest of the season, there's no reason to think they won't be interested in him again *this* off-season. Are they going to start "Megan's Law" for 162 games in 2015? Cito Culver sure ain't the answer ...

As to the 2nd part, given that Roberts hasn't been very good this year and seems as likely to spontaneously combust at any minutes as a Spinal Tap drummer, the potential upgrade (at the cost of Kelly Johnson) seems well worth the roll of the dice to me. As for the cost, it's pretty much a nominal concern to the Yankees ...

58 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 31, 2014 8:04 pm

Meanwhile, I wonder if the MLBPA will get involved with this:

The Yankees will designate Brian Roberts for assignment to clear a roster spot for the recently acquired Martin Prado, Brian Cashman told reporters. Roberts, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter on Monday and did not play Tuesday or Wednesday, was only two plate appearances shy of triggering a $250k bonus in his contract. The team cited general soreness and fatigue as reasons for the mini-benching.

59 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 31, 2014 8:08 pm

Meanwhile, not good news for Cliff Lee, who left the game tonight with an apparent left arm issue ...

60 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 31, 2014 8:08 pm

Meanwhile, I should stop starting every post with ... meanwhile.

61 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2014 8:17 pm

[59] In other news...

62 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 31, 2014 9:02 pm

[0]-[60] Round of applause to you all for the informative and entertaining Trade Deadline banter. Really excellent reading without the 'he suxxx!' type commentary on other sites!

63 Boatzilla   ~  Aug 1, 2014 12:37 am

[61] I second the motions.

But, Stephen Drew? I'm sorry but he sucks, maybe not as much as Roberts, but he sucks. He's never batted near 300 since his D'Backs days. Never had a good OBP. Gets hurt a lot. Never hit for much power the AL. Is he that good of fielder? Don't think so.

64 thelarmis   ~  Aug 1, 2014 2:18 am

fwiw, i always enjoyed watching martin prado as a brave. he was a "professional hitter" and played decent defense anywhere he was on the diamond.

tigers and a's - damn.

fuck the shit sox. always and forever. let's sweep those scum sucking classless douchebeards at that ugly little league park!

65 thelarmis   ~  Aug 1, 2014 2:22 am

also, i just can't get worked up over pete o'brien. what - was he a catcher...then an outfielder...and a corner infielder for a few minutes, or something...?

has some power...strikes out a lot, perhaps...low OBP...

i dunno, whatevs. jesus was supposed to be the second coming of jesus. look how that panned out...

i'm still holding out hope that 'lil Sori and boBBy can reach 300/300!!! : )

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