Thursday, July 31, 2014

Early thoughts on the Red Sox dismemberment, and did Oakland make a mistake?

Nine days ago the Red Sox were the hottest team in baseball.  Playoff hopes had been rekindled, and I wrote an article for Bleacher Report suggesting nothing big would happen before the trade deadline.

A lot can change in 9 days.

Jon Lester's no-hitter in 2008.  I was there.
Boston is 1-8 in that time, while being outscored 57-17.  The Red Sox quickly shifted into full-on blow-it-up mode, and that's an understatement.  I'll have a lot more to come tomorrow after the dust settles, but for now here's my quick analysis of the biggest trade of the day, Jon Lester to Oakland (along with Jonny Gomes) for Yoenis Cespedes (and a draft pick):

I think it could backfire big time for the A's.

At 66-41, Oakland has easily the best record in the major leagues right now.  They're a lock for the playoffs.  In those situations teams usually look to tinker and add complimentary pieces that could help in the playoffs; a pinch runner, an extra bat off the bench or arm in the bullpen, or maybe a fifth starter to fill out the rotation.  You don't usually deal away your No. 3 hitter (and two-time defending home run derby champion) for a new ace of your staff.

When you're the best club in baseball, why risk messing with your team chemistry like this?  The A's already had the lowest starter's ERA (3.32) in the American League; they seem to have addressed a need that wasn't even there, with the chance of disrupting everything they have going right now.

As far as Lester goes, I hate to say it, but I think it's highly unlikely he comes back to Boston as a free agent.  If you can name a superstar player who was dealt away at the deadline then returned to his previous team in the offseason, please let me know.  It's just not something you really see happen in sports.

However, this article by former Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler definitely makes me feel more optimistic about the possibility...

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