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Best-in-baseball A's add ace Lester to starting rotation

OAKLAND, Calif. — In the biggest move of a wild trade deadline day, the Athletics won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander and former Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on Thursday.

Oakland, with baseball's best record at 66-41, also received cash from Boston in another blockbuster deal by A's general manager Billy Beane. The Red Sox also get a draft pick in a deal confirmed by both teams.

"I believe that the deliberations leading to the two trades we did were deeply analyzed, thoughtful and value-added," A's owner Lew Wolff said in an email. "The best trades are when all parties have potential benefits, and what Billy accomplished is an example of such a win-win. The calls I have received from other owners were very complimentary."

Lester is having an outstanding season with a 10-7 record and career-best 2.52 ERA in 21 starts. He has allowed seven earned runs in his past eight games with 54 strikeouts and nine walks. But the Red Sox put him on the trading block because he can become a free agent after the season.

He was sought by many teams, including the Pirates and Dodgers. The 30-year-old three-time All-Star originally was scheduled to start Wednesday night for the slumping Red Sox, who instead scratched Lester ahead of the trade deadline.

After winning their third World Series in 10 seasons last year, the power-poor Red Sox are last in the AL East with a 48-60 record.

The A's also sent left-hander Tommy Milone to the Twins for former Rays outfielder Sam Fuld.

The Red Sox were involved in three more trades Thursday:

• Boston traded right-hander John Lackey to the Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig. The Red Sox also sent cash and minor-league left-hander Cory Littrell to St. Louis. Lackey is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA and joins a rotation already boosted by the addition of right-hander Justin Masterson from the Indians a day earlier.

• The AL-East leading Orioles fortified their bullpen by obtaining left-hander Andrew Miller from Boston for minor-league left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller has a 2.34 ERA in 50 appearances this season.

• Boston sent shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees for former Rays third baseman Kelly Johnson. New York continued to boost its infield by acquiring veteran Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks for minor-league catcher Peter O'Brien.

NATS GET INFIELDER: Washington acquired two-time All-Star infielder Asdrubal Cabrera and cash from the Indians for shortstop Zach Walters. Cabrera has spent most of his career at shortstop but has played 162 games at second base — his likely position in Washington — most recently in 2009.

MARLINS BOOST ROTATION: Miami obtained right-hander Jarred Cosart from the Astros in a six-player deal. The Marlins also acquired infielder-outfielder Kike Hernandez and outfielder Austin Wates for third baseman Colin Moran, outfielder Jake Marisnick, right-hander Francis Martes and a 2015 compensatory draft pick. Cosart is 9-7 with a 4.41 ERA in 20 starts this season.

BREWERS GET GOLD GLOVER: Milwaukee acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Diamondbacks for two minor-leaguers. The NL Central-leading Brewers are sending outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-hander Anthony Banda to Arizona.

DEPTH FOR MARINERS: Seattle acquired veteran outfielder Chris Denorfia from the Padres for two minor-leaguers. The Mariners sent outfielder Abraham Almonte, their opening day starter in center, and right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen to San Diego.

BRAVES FILL HOLES: Atlanta filled both trade-deadline priorities in one deal, acquiring left-handed reliever James Russell and versatile veteran Emilio Bonifacio from the Cubs in exchange for minor league catcher/third baseman Victor Caratini.

West Coast Rays

After Thursday's trades, the A's now have six former Rays on their roster:

• Sam Fuld, OF

• Jonny Gomes, OF

• Jason Hammel, RHP

• John Jaso, C

• Scott Kazmir, LHP

• Stephen Vogt, C

Best-in-baseball A's add ace Lester to starting rotation 07/31/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:57pm]

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