OK, here’s what we know: Jon Lester has been traded. He has been traded to the West Coast, probably to the A’s, and apparently, in a crazy twist, for Yoenis Cespedes. I suppose the justification here is that Cesepedes will be a free agent after the 2015 season (something I didn’t realize at first, because it’s specified in his first contract — on a typical contract he’d be an A until 2018, which would make this trade seem crazy), but he’s still one of baseball’s most intriguing players and a dynamic power threat on his best days. The A’s officially have to win the World Series this year, because Billy Beane has emptied the cupboard and moved back into the pantry.
This is one of those deals where the Pirates simply didn’t have anything to match what the A’s offered. The best match would probably be Starling Marte, who’s not as good as Cespedes but is under control for several more years. A player like Pedro Alvarez might be similar, except that Pedro Alvarez is not nearly as good as Cespedes is and the Pirates would have had to build the deal up further from there Really, it’s just hard to imagine the Pirates being able to build a package that could match Cespedes, given his contract status and uniqueness as a player. Sometimes, other teams are just a better fit for a trade.
At least the Pirates don’t have to worry about him being sent to another National League contender. Cespedes is a pretty big haul for Lester, though, so obviously this sets today up to be quite the seller’s market. That’s dangerous for the Pirates, but that being said, Huntington has come off of the radar to make some deals in the past. I’m not expecting much at this point, but there are still six hours to go.