Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes

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We didn’t see this coming: WEEI’s Alex Speier reports that the Oaland Athletics have acquired Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes.

This makes the third front line starting pitcher added to the A’s rotation in less than a month, with Lester joining Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel who came to Oakland from Chicago at the beginning of July. Along with Sonny Gray, this gives the A’s perhaps the best starting rotation in the American League. Possibly in all of baseball. It certainly signals that the A’s are going for it without hesitation or pause in 2014.

For the Red Sox: a big problem — production in the outfield — is solved. They didn’t get the sorts of prospects everyone expected they’d get. But in Cespedes they received one of the most powerful hitters in the game who is under team control through 2015. And of course the Red Sox have the means to extend Cespedes if they like what they see from him over the next year and a half. It is worth wondering if his batting line — already good on the power side, even if lacking in the on-base side of things — improves in a more hitter-friendly park like Fenway.

We’ll have much more on the fallout from this monster deal, including what it means for Boston, for Oakland and for the rest of baseball as the day goes on.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.