Stress. That’s what the trade deadline amounts to for many players, fans, and organizations in baseball. The trade deadline usually gets really good (or bad, depending on how you see it) on the last day, July 31st, when many teams go all out to buy or sell. This year, the Red Sox were the biggest sellers. In my article, I’m going to lay out each trade that the Red Sox made and give it a grade. If you agree, great, if not, that’s fine too, please just respect my opinions.
Trade: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes for Yoenis Cespedes and a competitive balance draft pick
My grade: A-
This deal was heart wrenching. I will be the first to tell you I shed more than a few tears when I found out Lester was packing his bags for Oakland, along with Gomes who is also a huge fan favorite. But for all the bad that was involved, there was a sizable amount of good. We finally got a good hitter, a power hitter. In fact, we got the back-to-back home run derby champ in Yoenis Cespedes, arguably the A’s best hitter overall. The 28 year old is controllable for all of next season as well, but I 100% expect the Red Sox to extend him. He’s gonna hit balls over the monster for years to come. Okay, great. Got a hitter. What else is good about the deal? We got a competitive balance draft pick. Don’t underestimate the value of this. I have a feeling it’s going to come in very, very handy. I had this deal as a solid B to B+ earlier, but my mind has changed and I’ve raised it to an A- for one reason: Lester MAY be coming back to us. One of my recent blogs was all about why Lester WOULDN’T pitch for the Sox again, but I don’t fully buy that statement now. Here’s why: 1) He said he’d return. In fact, at one point he declared they would have to physically rip a Red Sox jersey off of his back. 2) Recent reports have given me further optimism that the Red Sox will indeed go all out and bring him back at season’s end. And 3) David Price was traded to the Tigers. How does this affect anything? Price will most likely be the one the Tigers intend to keep long term, leaving them unable to afford Scherzer as well. Here’s what I see happening, the Yankees will get Scherzer. Okay, whatever. They can have him. They’ll definitely overpay for him. Once that happens, Lester will have fewer high-spending teams to choose from. If the reports are true, the Red Sox will be one of them. And I expect if they offer ANYTHING close to what other teams are offering, Jon will be our starter opening day. Right back where he belongs. For that, I give this entire trade an A-
Trade: John Lackey for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly
My grade: A
Perhaps the most underrated trade of the day. We get a young pitcher in Kelly, who pitched against us in Game 3 of the World Series last year. When he’s right, the guy can pitch. His career ERA is just above 3, making him a quality asset. Craig has had a rough year. But let’s not forget how well he hit last year and in the 2011 World Series. If he can replicate his former self, the Red Sox will have another threat in their lineup. But what about Lackey, you ask? He was signed for the league minimum for next year and he won Game 6 for us last year to clinch it. Okay. Also consider he asked for the trade. He wanted out. Whatever pride he had in being a member of the Red Sox, it evaporated rather quickly the past week or so. Personally, I don’t want a guy here that doesn’t want to be here. Have fun in St. Louis, cowboy John. We’re better off without you from here on out anyway.
Trade: Andrew Miller for Eduardo Rodriguez
My grade: A+
Who? That’s what I was asked multiple times after I reported the deal. Well, Rodriguez was ranked as the 3rd best prospect in the entire Orioles farm system. Now he’s ours. He’s a pitcher, and a left handed one at that. He’s also only 21. Plenty of upside with this guy. Guess what else? The O’s will have Miller for 2 months, 3 tops if they’re lucky. Guess what else? Miller, like Lester, said he’d be open to returning to the Red Sox next year. I’ll take the risk.
Trade: Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson
My grade: B+
Red Sox fans were split over Drew. Oh, who am I kidding. Most weren’t fond of him at all. I respect Drew. And I don’t dislike him. He did help us win a World Series last year (with his glove of course). But Drew was clogging up the infield. And him being at short took away from Xander’s time there. Trading Drew to the Yankees is why this only gets a B+. We got Kelly Johnson in return. He’s barely hitting better than Drew. BUT we save a size able amount in payroll because those pinstriped jackasses will be paying the rest. It was a good move, and the first trade with the Yankees since 1997. Been awhile. But why did I give it only a B+? It helps the Yankees, believe it or not. And I don’t like that. Sure, Drew can’t hit worth a damn. We all know that. But his defense is really good, and that’s gonna help the Yankees. I don’t want them to succeed. For that, I give it a B+.
Overall reaction: It was a rough day. I lost a family member (figuratively, of course) in Jon Lester, my favorite pitcher and second only to Ortiz for my favorite player. We lost Gomes, another guy I was very find of. We traded Miller and Lackey and Drew: all three apart of the 2013 champion team. But we got a lot of hope and promise back. Cespedes will be a force with the Green Monster in left. I’m gonna enjoy watching him and Ortiz piss countless pitchers off (eh-hem, Chris Archer) when they smash homers and flip their bats. I’m have faith in Craig and Kelly. And Rodriguez just adds to an already talented group of prospects. Johnson was more for financial reasons, but he may give us a decent bat off the bench. It’s all gonna be alright, Red Sox nation. Maybe we’ll even come away with Jon Lester at the end of it all. That’s a happy ending in my book. Thanks for reading!