Thursday, September 4, 2014

Maybe the A's should have consulted me before trading Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester?

On MLB's July 31 trade deadline I wrote a post entitled Early thoughts on the Red Sox dismemberment, and did Oakland make a mistake?  It included the following:

"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 of today the A's are 79-60, now 4.5 games out of first place in the AL West and only 3.5 ahead of the Mariners for the final Wild Card spot.  Oakland has gone 13-19 since making the blockbuster trade.  After averaging 133.75 runs per month from April through July, without Yoenis Cespedes Oakland scored just 103 times in August.

Jon Lester has pitched very well in seven starts for the A's, but despite a 2.59 ERA and 1.03 WHIP Oakland is only 4-3 in those games, and has plated a total of six runs over his last four outings.

In World Series play Lester is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over three career starts.  The A's may still get there and prove this to be a moot point, but if they miss the playoffs or lose the Wild Card Game the Cespedes for Lester trade will look like an epic disaster.

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