Jon Lester AP

Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes


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.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.

Walt Weiss returning as Rockies manager in 2016

Walt Weiss
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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As first reported by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rockies have decided to bring back manager Walt Weiss for the 2016 season — the final year of a three-year deal he signed after his debut season in 2013.

Weiss carries a rough 208-278 managerial record through his first three years at the helm for Colorado, but it’s not like the rosters he’s been managing have been built to win.

The biggest need for the Rockies this winter is pitching — both starters and relievers — and general manager Jeff Bridich is also being retained for the 2016 season to try to find some.

Colorado’s starters and relievers combined for a 5.04 ERA in 2015, worst in MLB.

Colorado’s offense produced 737 runs, ranking fifth in the major leagues.