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Billy Beane to A's Fans: "Screw Your Cespedes Bobblehead"
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons | July 31, 2014
"I'm trading it for a World Series ring."
First of all: Don't panic.
Oakland A's fans are known to greet the Major League trade deadline with the kind of exuberance and joy usually reserved for Tax Day. You can't blame them: July has traditionally been the month when Oakland offloads its power hitters and ace pitchers to teams gunning for the World Series. Eric Byrnes. Joe Blanton. Orlando Cabrera. If you're a Green and Gold fan hoping for a postseason run, then July is the cruelest month.
But that shockwave you felt emanating from the Coliseum this morning after the A's traded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes was no earthquake—it was proof that Billy Beane thinks the team is going to make a run into the postseason and is willing to go all in on making that happen. The most notoriously DGAF general manager in the majors isn't worried about sentimentality, or fan favorites, or even what'll happen to his roster next season after Lester becomes a free agent. Billy Beane does not care about the Cespedes jersey you just bought. Billy Beane cares about winning.
Pretty much any way you look at it, this is a smart trade for the A's. Gomes, who had a solid .262 batting average when he played for Oakland in 2012, hit the three-run homer that took Game Four for the Sox in last year's successful World Series bid. He's been hitting .234 on the year so far, roughly comparable to Cespedes's .256 average, albeit with less power than the Cuban slugger. But then throw in pitcher Jon Lester, with his 2.52 ERA and 10-7 record in 2014, and it starts to look like the A's are taking this whole thing seriously. Lester's contract runs out after this season ends, but with the A's stockpiling quality starting pitching—and Lester offering a monster 2.11 ERA in the postseason—it looks like Beane's set his sights on the more immediate future.
Put it all together, and two things are clear: Brad Pitt had better call his agent to make sure he gets cast in Moneyball 2: The Color of Money, and you'd better start saving up now for playoffs tickets.