The Boston Red Sox today acquired outfielder Yoenis Céspedes and a 2015 competitive balance draft pick from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for left-handed pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash considerations. Both Céspedes and Lester were All-Stars in 2014.
Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
Céspedes, who will wear No. 52 for the Red Sox, is batting .256 (102-for-399) with 26 doubles, three triples, 17 home runs, 67 RBI, and 28 walks in 101 games this year, his first All-Star season. Among American League leaders, the 28-year-old ranks tied for sixth in extra-base hits (46) and tied for ninth in RBI. Since the All-Star break, he has hit .326 (15-for-46) with five doubles, three home runs, and 11 RBI.
In three seasons since joining the major leagues from Cuba in 2012, the right-handed batter has hit .262 (371-for-1,415) with 72 doubles, 12 triples, 66 home runs, and 229 RBI. Beginning in 2012, he places among the top 15 American Leaguers in both homers and RBI. In his three seasons with the team, Oakland went 228-131 (.635) with Céspedes in the starting lineup compared to 28-44 (.389) when he did not start.
As a major leaguer, he has hit .296 with a .366 on-base percentage, and a .494 slugging percentage with runners in scoring position. In 142 career big league games after the All-Star break, is a .293 hitter with an .859 OPS.
Among players who debuted in 1987 or later, the only others with at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI in each of their first two major league seasons are Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Dan Uggla, Mark Teixeira, and Albert Pujols.
Céspedes hit safely in all 10 of Oakland's postseason games over the last two years, batting .350 (14-for-40) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, and six RBI.
Last season, he hit 26 home runs in 135 games. He finished second among American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2012 after batting .292 with 23 home runs, 82 RBI, and 16 stolen bases in 129 games.
Prior to his major league career, Céspedes played for Granma in Cuba's Serie Nacional for eight seasons. Over his last six seasons in Cuba, he hit .323 with 119 doubles, 145 home runs, 464 RBI, and a .604 slugging percentage in 528 games. In 90 games during his final Cuban season in 2010-11, he led the league in runs (89) and RBI (99), and tied for the lead in home runs (33), while batting .333. He also played for Cuba in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and hit .458 with two home runs and five RBI in six games.
Defensively, he has appeared primarily in left field in 2014 (82 games, 79 starts) and in his career (232 games, 226 starts), but also has major league experience in centerfield (75 games, 65 starts). He is tied for the major league lead this season with 12 outfield assists, along with Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr. His 31 career assists from the outfield rank third among all major leaguers since the start of 2012, trailing only Alex Gordon (40) and Gerrardo Parra (33).
Céspedes has won each of the last two MLB Home Run Derbies, joining Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only players to win it in back-to-back seasons (1998-99).
Lester, 30, was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this year, his third career All-Star campaign (2010, 2011). In 143.0 innings pitched this season he has struck out 149 batters and issued just 32 walks. Entering today, Lester ranks among AL leaders in ERA (5th), strikeouts (6th), wins (T-6th), and innings (9th), and has surrendered seven earned runs over his last eight starts (1.07 ERA). A two-time World Series Champion with Boston (2007, 2013), Lester helped the club to last year's title with four wins in five postseason starts. Signed by the Red Sox as a second-round selection in the 2002 June Draft, the left-hander went 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA (615 ER/1,519.1 IP) in 242 career major league outings, with all but one appearance as a starter. He threw the 18th no-hitter in franchise history against the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2008 at Fenway Park.
The 33-year-old Gomes batted .234 (49-for-209) in 78 games for Boston this season, which included a .302 (35-for-116) mark against left-handed pitching. Defensively, he appeared in 65 games in left field (45 starts), and 11 in right field (8 starts). Over his two seasons with the Red Sox, he hit .242 (126-for-521) with 24 doubles, 19 home runs, 84 RBI, and 71 runs scored in 194 games. Gomes' six pinch-hit homers for Boston rank second on the club's all-time list behind Hall of Famer Ted Williams (7). A Petaluma, CA native, Gomes has hit .244 (772-for-3167) with 147 doubles, 14 triples, 155 home runs and 495 RBI in 1,074 major league games between the Tampa Bay Rays (2003-08), Cincinnati Reds (2009-11), Washington Nationals (2011), Athletics (2012), and Red Sox (2013-14). He was signed by the Red Sox as a free agent on December 1, 2012.